New guidance to help parks in England reopen

The LGA has collaborated on a new guide to help councils and other park managers in England safely reopen urban and country parks, gardens and wider green spaces.


Parks, a lifeline for communities during lockdown, have faced a range of specific challenges in remaining open while ensuring public safety as a result of coronavirus. As facilities in parks begin to reopen under the Government’s ‘roadmap’ to recovery, these challenges are set to continue. Managers of these spaces have to consider a wide range of issues, including reopening facilities such as children’s play areas, multi-use games areas, public toilets, cafes and tennis courts and car parks.

The LGA has worked with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Trust, APSE, the Midlands Parks Forum and parks practitioners to produce the Managing Parks during COVID-19 Guide, which brings together the latest advice available to help managers of green spaces safely reopen them to the public as lockdown eases. It includes the most recent guidance on managing site infrastructure, social distancing and visitor numbers, to help park managers ensure that their teams, volunteers and visitors are safe and that government standards and customer expectations are met.

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Councils know that parks continue to be a lifeline for residents needing to get some exercise or fresh air during lockdown and are great for physical and mental wellbeing.

Local parks teams are working hard to maintain and keep green spaces open for their communities throughout the year and have also been taking on additional responsibilities during this period.

“This guidance will assist them as they make decisions about how to help their communities enjoy their parks safely.

As we look ahead to the recovery period, it is important that the Government provides the long-term funding to ensure councils can keep all parks open to the public.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board

“Many gardens are reopening this week, and many parks have stayed partially open as vital places to take exercise and get fresh air close to home during lockdown.

“However as the day-to-day situation is changing so rapidly, it  can be hard to keep up with official guidance and best practice on reopening safely. This guide brings it all together in one place.”

Managers of these spaces have to consider a wide range of challenges, including reopening facilities such as children’s play areas, multi-use games areas, public toilets, cafes and tennis courts and car parks.

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy at The National Lottery Heritage Fund