RESIDENTS are calling on Bicester Town Council to open all of the town’s parks after concerns were raised that the 12 playgrounds currently open were overcrowded.

Reports have been made to the council that too many people are congregating in parks during the day, particularly Garth Park.

ALSO READ: Bicester play areas to get refurbished but some may close

Young people have also been using the skate park despite it being closed in line with Government guidelines.

The town council is reminding residents to adhere to social distancing rules and not to congregate, but people say if other parks were open there would be more space for people to enjoy the playgrounds safely.

Bicester resident Rebecca Webber said: “Please can Bicester Town Council explain why more than 80 per cent of parks in the town have been shut since March 2020, even when government guidance has been for some time that they can open.

“You can't cause a problem by only opening a few parks and then moan about it. Open more parks and this wouldn't happen.”

Bicester Advertiser: Garth Park playground. Pic: Eddy Xi Gong

Jennifer Whayman said: “Open all the parks. Can you not see that if there are only a handful of parks open then they are going to be very busy? Open all the parks and people will spread out. You deep cleaned one of our little parks near us, lovely, then you locked it and stuck a sign on it saying we can't use it. Why?

"The government has said all parks can be open. Open them.”

There are 48 play areas in Bicester that are closed, even though outdoor playgrounds are allowed to remain open under current national lockdown rules.

ALSO READ: Residents angry as play area in Heyford Park closed during lockdown

The 12 play areas that are open are all deep cleaned and sanitised every four weeks.

More playgrounds in the town were set to open in September, but as infections increased and the Government brought in restrictions again the town council decided it would be ‘sending the wrong message’ to reopen other play areas and wanted to focus on keeping those that were open safe for users.

Councillor Richard Mould, leader of the council, said: “As the number of infections decrease we will start reopening the other areas. The council priority is to keep residents safe and to make sure the road map outlined by the Prime Minister can see restrictions for all lifted as soon as possible.”

Bicester Advertiser: Garth Park Skate Park closed

Signs have been put up at each of the open parks across Bicester advising the maximum number of people at any one time to ensure safety.

People are urged to check how many people are already in a park before they enter.

Mr Mould added: “With large numbers congregating in Garth Park there is a greater chance that the Covid-19 virus will take hold and slow down the release from lockdown.

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“Please make sure that you respect the social distancing rules by keeping two metres apart at all times and that the play area is used only by the stipulated number of children.

“Your cooperation will be appreciated by all.”

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