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Will Haringey Council have to close parks for Easter?

PUBLISHED: 09:25 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:00 09 April 2020

Mr Meek said residents could visit Highgate Wood for exercise. Picture: Michael Hammerson.

Mr Meek said residents could visit Highgate Wood for exercise. Picture: Michael Hammerson.

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Haringey Council is talking to police over whether parks should be closed for the Easter weekend, following reports last week of Londoners flouting coronavirus social distancing rules.

Andrew Meek, Haringey Council's emergency planning chief, has been coordinating the authority's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Haringey Council.Andrew Meek, Haringey Council's emergency planning chief, has been coordinating the authority's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Haringey Council.

The council’s emergency planning chief Andrew Meek said: “We are aware of the issue and we’re having discussions with the police and others about, particularly looking forward to the long weekend, what’s the right stance to take.”

But Mr Meek said no decision had been taken and it would not be necessary.

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He explained: “It’s obviously quite concerning that a small minority of people are just not behaving responsibly. But we are mindful that there are good health benefits in people being able to exercise, and a lot of our residents don’t have gardens, so our green spaces have a special value to them.

Mr Meek said Alexandra Park was large enough to be enjoyed within social distancing guidelines. Picture: AP.Mr Meek said Alexandra Park was large enough to be enjoyed within social distancing guidelines. Picture: AP.

“Closing down parks is something that... we might get there, but we are not in that position just yet.”

Mr Meek said he accepted it that it was ‘the nature of big cities’ that many thousands of people would live in areas with a small amount of communal green space.

But, he added: “The proportion of Haringey as a borough that’s green space is actually relatively high.

“We are quite blessed with some wonderful open spaces, from Alexandra Park itself, which is very large, to Highgate Wood, Queen’s Wood, Finsbury Park, Lordship Lane Rec and many other smaller parks - and they’re very much valued by our residents.”


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