Update on Thursday, July 30: Uckfield play areas are due to reopen from today after equipment is sanitised.
Uckfield News story on Tuesday, July 28: Children could soon be enjoying the swings and roundabouts of Uckfield’s play areas again.
Town councillors agreed last night (July 27) to pay a contractor to sanitise the play areas on a monthly basis, on an initial three-month contract to begin with.
Yesterday we previewed the issues before councillors in this report.
A “very” high-strength sanitiser will be used on all play and adult gym equipment.
It is suitable for all weather conditions and stays on surfaces for 30 days.
The company operating the kit could come to Uckfield as early as Thursday (July 30).
Re-opening will follow when the appropriate signs are in place which will probably indicate the maximum number of users at any one time and also ask users to limit their time in the play areas if others are waiting.
Councillors accept these rules would have to be self-policing,.
The cost of sanitising the town’s seven play areas will be £795 plus VAT each month.
That amount will be reduced if Framfield Parish Council and another local council join Uckfield and have their equipment sanitised on the same day.
Councillors were told that an option of council grounds staff doing the work would be a strain on an already stretched workforce.
Cllr Jez Beesley, who chairs the committee, explained why play areas were open in some areas but not in others, such as Uckfield.
He said it was a case of different insurers operating with different rules.
Uckfield Town Council’s insurance had taken a strong line about liability and the importance of ensuring the safety of users.
Cllr Karen Bedwell said it was imperative that the council found a solution to get Uckfield’s play areas open.
“We are not looking good on social media.
“I appreciate that may not be our biggest concern but there is quite a backlog of anger towards the town council.”
She said it was also a concern that people were using the play equipment.
Cllr Donna French said she had explained on social media the council had been following government guidance and the requirements of the council’s insurer to the letter.
“I have tried to explain that other councils will have different insurance policies,” she said.
Parent found it hard to explain to children that they couldn’t use equipment when they could see others in the parks, she said. They were also worried about the mental health of their youngsters.
“They are just really desperate. They have had four months of lockdown and now they have another eight weeks of summer holidays,” she said.
The town council has play areas at
- Hughes Way
- Oakwood Drive
- Ridgewood Recreation Ground
- Luxford Field (closed for rebuilding at present)
- Hempstead Road
- Rocks Park
- Victoria Pleasure Ground