STATEMENT FROM WEST FARLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL
CONTINUED CLOSURE OF THE PLAY AREA
3rd July 2020
Following months of lock down, the Parish Council appreciates that families wish to be able to access the play area. Having read the latest Government guidance, the play area on the Green, is not currently Covid Safe. For families to understand what this means, we have detailed below the actions required, in order to be able to obtain Covid Safe status:
The Parish Council would need to be confident of the following points:
- if an enclosed area, owners should identify an advisory limit on the maximum number of users able to use a playground or outdoor gym area at any one time and use signs to communicate this
- where practicable, owners could implement a booking system so that users can book a slot to use the equipment
- limiting the number of users able to use a particular piece of equipment to minimise the transmission risk of COVID-19.
Potential measures include:
- signs to communicate maximum number of users at one time
- request those using the play area to only have 1 family member accompanying a child
- limiting the available number of seats on equipment or numbers of swings available to promote social distancing, including for parents, carers or guardians who might push children on swings for example
- setting a time limit and using signs to communicate this to users, parents, guardians or carers
- using adjacent space for queues or waiting areas for users, parents, guardians and carers using barriers, markings or signs where it is safe to do so. When implementing a queue or waiting area, consideration must be taken of its impact on the surrounding space and ensure it does not impede other users or pedestrians, particularly considering those with visual or hearing impairments, mobility problems and invisible disabilities
Owners are advised to manage any potential risk, cleaning high traffic touch points frequently. This could include cleaning regimes for:
- playground equipment for children, usually up to age 14, such as slides monkey bars and climbing frames
- semi enclosed playhouses or huts for small children
- enclosed crawl through ‘tunnels’ or tube slides
- exercise bars and machine handles on outdoor gym equipment
- entry and exit points such as gates
- seating areas such as benches and picnic tables
- refuse areas/bins
This guidance has only been circulated to the Parish Council in the last few days. We appreciate that families will be frustrated at our decision; especially when the Borough Council has made the decision to open their play areas from the 4th July. However, the Borough Council has put all liability on to parents and carers to make sure that their children are kept safe by ensuring the use of hand sanitiser and maintaining social distancing. Currently, the Parish Council does not feel that this interpretation of the guidance is acceptable and our Insurance Company has supported our view. It should also be noted that the Borough Council has a large number of staff that can be redeployed, whilst maintaining their open spaces, to carry out any additional cleaning regime required.
West Farleigh Parish Council does not have the manpower required to regularly disinfect touch points and to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times.
We are in daily discussions with the Borough Council, our Insurance Company and Advisers. It is hoped that further guidance will be available to Parish Councils in the coming weeks, as many of the local parished play areas will not be opening imminently.
The decision to keep the play area closed is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It is not ‘because Councillor have no understanding, as they don’t have children’. It has been taken to ensure that, when it does open, it will be the safest it can be to ensure that all measures are in place to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19. The guidance from Government is very fluid and changes daily, this has been monitored throughout the pandemic, to ensure that the Parish Council follows the most up to date information.
Members of the Parish Council hope that residents will now have a better understanding of why the play area must remain closed at the present time. We appreciate that this is very frustrating for families, but we will not tolerate, or respond to, abusive telephone calls, emails or Facebook comments.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Update
Please remember, we should all do everything possible to try to reduce the risk of infection, to slow down the transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
There are simple things we can all do to reduce the risk of respiratory and other infections such as seasonal colds and flu such as:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
If any residents have concerns regarding the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), further information can be found on the NHS website:
If anyone thinks that they may have symptoms please go on-line to the NHS 111 on-line questionnaire page: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Further information can also be found on the Kent County Council website:
For up to date information you can follow Public Health England (PHE) on Twitter: @PHE_SouthEast
Also, the Government website posts amended figures on their website daily (in the afternoon) until further notice. You can view the updates and addition advice by going on-line to their website:
Coffee Morning with the
Kent Police Crime Commissioner
The Parish Council has made the decision, following the latest Government advice relating to Covid-19, to postpone the coffee morning that Mr Matthew Scott, the Kent Police Crime Commissioner was due to attend on the 21st March.
Whilst this is extremely disappointing, it is hoped that this can be rearranged later in the year.
Traffic Survey on Lower Road
(Completed November 2019)
Following a meeting with Kent Highways in July, the Parish Council has undertaken a traffic survey to investigate the speed of vehicles using Lower Road. The information provided is below and this has been passed to Kent Highways for their engineers to examine.
Traffic Survey on Lower Road – Main Data
Traffic Survey on Lower Road – 24hr Summary
Traffic Survey on Lower Road – 20hr Summary