The main field area of the Malpas Recreation Ground is open for leisure and recreational purposes, and this will continue as long as individuals attending the site are observed to be sticking to the national social distancing rules on gatherings.
The children's play equipment and the shelter on ground remain closed.
These areas were closed and notices displayed which highlighted the risk from Coronavirus Covid19 in line with government rules back in March.
Residents will have observed that the Play area has now been encircled with security fencing.
This is because the barrier tape that was around the area was being ripped down on a daily basis.
As the virus can exist on material for a period of time, the reckless actions of a few inconsiderate individuals was putting other villager's lives at risk, so the decision was taken to erect the security fencing.
Whilst some county councils have taken steps to re-open the children's play areas they own and are responsible for; many play areas across the country remain closed. Despite the government saying it is ok to open up again, the decision to re-open or not, now rests with the various play area owners.
Cheshire West Borough Council has decided to re-open play areas under its control.
However, the Malpas Recreation Ground is privately owned and managed by a Trust, and as such, it is the trust that have to decide whether to re-open the play area or not.
At the end of June, the trust considered re-opening the taped off areas, taking into account both the risk to local residents and other related matters.
Reasons why the play equipment remains closed.
There are a number of reasons why the decision has been taken not to re-open the Children's Play area and the shelter at this time.
Some of these include:
1/ Malpas Recreation Ground trust does not have any paid employees – unlike Cheshire West Council, who have both staff and budgets to deploy on putting the risk assessments and mitigation measures in place that are called for in the 20 page government paper covering the rules around re-opening of outdoor gyms and play areas.
2/ there have been no safety checks at all carried out on the play equipment since the beginning of March, when the areas were closed and the weekly safety checks were ceased.
The site annual inspection by a certificated Health and Safety Inspector is now due.
It is imperative the Trust sees a full safety report from that qualified individual and any defects identified are addressed, before considering re-opening again. (A full safety inspection has been requested.)
3/ there are suggestions that any liability arising from any incidents will be the responsibility of the individual resident/children using the equipment as indicated by Covid19 disclaimer notices being recommended for use by the Association of Local Councils.
The Trustees and / or the Recreation Ground Management Committee cannot "police" or guarantee that residents and / or children will follow all the recommendations associated with using the play equipment.
The trust are reviewing the situation on a weekly basis and will look to re-open the full site, as soon as they feel it is safe to do so.
Malpas Recreation Ground