An update from Urban Green Newcastle on the use of parks and allotments during the COVID-19 pandemic
In response to the updates from government regarding the phased release of lockdown, we have updated our official guidance on visiting Newcastle’s parks and allotments during the coronavirus pandemic.
We are continuing to take a number of steps over the coming weeks to deliver a gradual reopening of facilities across all our parks and allotments.
We are keen to make changes quickly to allow people to enjoy our wonderful green spaces again. However, we will only reopen facilities once we have carried out all the necessary checks in line with government guidance, so we can be sure it is safe to do so.
Having access to nature, wildlife and green spaces remains hugely important to Newcastle residents. The latest guidelines introduced by government mean we have the opportunity to spend more time in our parks and allotments, and with a wider group of friends and family, but it’s important we continue to do so safely and responsibly.
The details below set out what changes Urban Green Newcastle will be making. Please make yourself familiar with the new guidance below so we can all continue to enjoy our city’s green spaces.
Urban Green Newcastle
Visiting Newcastle’s parks:
- People can visit our parks as much as they want, and spend time exercising, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. Wider groups of friends and family members can meet up from Saturday 04 July onwards, but groups of up to six people from different households must continue to follow social distancing guidelines.
- Our tennis courts are now open, with clear guidance on how to use them safely. We are monitoring the use of these spaces to ensure they are being used in a way that ensures the health and wellbeing of players, park users, and Urban Green Newcastle staff.
- Multiuse play areas, skate parks and basketball courts are open on a trial basis. We will monitor these to ensure users follow social distancing guidelines and they are using the spaces safely and responsibly. Should safety be compromised, we will review our approach and the trial may be stopped.
Following safety inspections and risk assessments, we are delighted to announce all playgrounds across the city’s parks have now reopened for children and families to enjoy.To ensure national guidance can be followed, we have removed equipment in some parks - mainly swings - to allow park users to carry out social distancing. Please be aware that equipment is not being sanitised and visitors are asked to follow the signs on safe usage at each site. If you are a parent or carer, please talk to your children to make sure they understand the measures in place.
Public toilets at Jesmond Dene Visitor Centre are open for members of the public to use Monday-Friday between 11:00-15:00, on a strict one in, one out basis. The limited opening is to ensure facilities are kept clean and safe for visitors.The toilets at Tower Café in Leazes Park are also now open. Other toilet facilities remain closed for now but are under review.
- We are responding to the increased numbers of people using our parks, which brings with it an increase in littering. Urban Green is increasing the number of bin collections across our parks during busy periods, and we have installed temporary new bins in busy locations. People are asked to please use the bins provided and, if the bins are full, to please take their litter home with them.
- Following the completion of a risk assessment, we have reintroduced a limited volunteering programme.
- Our car parks remain open for people that need to drive to access green spaces.
- You can read government’s updated guidance on visiting public spaces here.
Visiting Newcastle’s allotments:
- Allotment holders can tend to their sites as much as they want, subject to any specific guidance from individual Allotment Associations. We ask that all plot holders continue to respect social distancing guidelines.
- Do also remember to carry out regular hand washing or sanitising, especially after touching shared surfaces.
- The National Allotment Society has some helpful guidance available on its website.
- You can also read government’s updated guidance on outdoor activities here.