East Devon lifts bans
The seven remaining East Devon District Council gardens which have been closed since the coronavirus lockdown reopen today. At the start of lockdown, the council closed almost all its parks and gardens. That initial ban was lifted when the government realised it prevented many people exercising, but East Devon kept a number of places closed because it felt residents couldn't maintain social distancing through narrow entrance points. It means central places such as Exmouth's Manor Gardens remained gated. Even though people could pass one another on the street around it, they couldn't get in to walk round the expanse inside.
On Sunday, the prime minister announced that people could go out of their homes as much as they want, but should keep to social distancing guidelines. That's led to East Devon's decision to reopen the gardens it felt it would be unsafe for people to enter. It says:. "A number of parks remained closed as they were quite small, enclosed and with narrow access ways, poor sight lines or restricted access points."
They've now reassessed seven gardens and now think people can get in and out safely. They are:
- Manor Gardens, Exmouth
- Gunfield Gardens – Exmouth
- Queens Drive Space – Exmouth
- The Glen – Honiton
- Connaught Gardens – Sidmouth
- Blackmore Gardens – Sidmouth
- Seafield Gardens – Seaton
Jacob's Ladder in Sidmouth will remain closed, as will all playparks, skate parks and outdoor gyms.
East Devon’s beaches and nature reserves have remained open throughout the lockdown - although steps have been blocked off to Exmouth beach, restricting access for many people with mobility issues.
A decision about reopening some public toilets will be made later.
Councillor Geoff Jung, East Devon’s Portfolio for the Environment, said: “Social distancing signs will be in place and we will remind the public to observe these measures. We thank everyone for complying with the social distance measures so far and ask them to please carry on behaving sensibly.”
Further guidance on what people should do when accessing East Devon’s parks can be found at: https://eastdevon.gov.uk/parks-gardens-and-recreation/parks-and-gardens/coronavirus-information/