Backlash from parents as Wigan children's play areas remain shut

The town hall said it would be necessary to have someone marshalling facilities to clean and sanitise them as well as supervise them and with more than 100 sites in the borough this was impossible.
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However, some parents have begun complaining that other local authorities in the North West seem to have been able to open places for children to play.

Last week long queues formed at Haigh Woodland Park, where play equipment is available for youngsters and their families to let off steam.

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One mum, who asked not to be named, said: “I just think it’s crazy.

Wigan Council has not reopened children's play areasWigan Council has not reopened children's play areas
Wigan Council has not reopened children's play areas

“We can go to pubs and children can go to school, nursery or visit their grandparents so why can’t they visit the parks?

“The poor children have been going crazy for weeks on end and now can’t even go the park despite the government giving the green light.

“And now at the places which are open there are people queuing to get in.”

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Vicky Galligan, a Shevington parish councillor who runs the online group Shevy Standish Mums, said: “We go to lots of parks around Lancashire and the playgrounds have been open this week.

“I don’t see why Wigan parks should be any different.”

Vicky said she had taken her children out to sites including Yarrow Valley and a park in Ormskirk in recent days and found play equipment open.

Wigan Council insisted its approach was consistent with what ministers are telling local authorities they should do to handle this stage of the pandemic.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council’s director for environment, said: “In total we have 132 play areas.

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“The government guidance for the safe reopening of play areas includes providing site based marshals who can help ensure social distancing is in place and play areas are clean.

“Unfortunately we do not have the resources to reopen safely and until we feel confident that our residents can access play equipment safely, our sites will remain closed.

“But we are looking at how we could start to reopen as soon as possible.

“Last week, we published our latest Covid-19 tracker that showed Wigan as having one of the lowest Covid-19 infection rates in the


“This is down in part to the fact that throughout the pandemic we have made decisions based on prioritising the health and safety of our residents.”