Seaham play parks to remain closed as others in County Durham prepare to reopen

Play parks in Seaham are to remain closed for now, even though much of the rest of County Durham is to have a phased reopening across the county.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 7:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 7:38 pm

Durham County Council will begin a reopening on Saturday, July 11, when eight play parks will be in use once again. But some play parks in the county are owned and maintained by town and parish councils.

These include Peterlee, where play parks have been opened since Saturday July 4 and Seaham, where they will remain closed.

The eight parks to reopen will do so under the watchful eye of staff who will ensure that a raft of strict measures are adhered to.

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Durham County Council is phasing in the reopening of its play parks, but Seaham Town Council won't be joining in for now.

They were chosen by the county council as they are the most popular facilities and have a wide geographical spread.

They include Wharton Park in Durham City and Hardwick Park in Sedgefield. Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street has not been included as it is undergoing repairs.

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Durham County Council is making individual risk assessments on all 175 of the children’s play parks under its jurisdiction, and is working to reopen them all as soon as it is safe to do so.

However, Seaham Town Council says it is unable to provide the resources necessary to reopen the town’s play parks.

A Seaham Town Council statement said: “We are sorry but for the time being our playgrounds will be staying closed in the interest of public safety.

“It is not possible to introduce the government guidelines including a booking system, high level of supervision, limiting numbers on each equipment, only one adult per child or the intensive cleaning regime required to maintain the public’s safety.

“This will be reviewed by the council on 21st July, 2020.”

Councillor Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Our play parks provide a safe place for children to play, exercise and explore and we, like many families in the county, are keen for them to reopen as soon as possible.

“However, as the lockdown eases it is important we put the right measures in place to protect the public.”

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