An open letter to residents of Wandsworth

Dear Wandsworth residents,

I am writing on behalf of the Parks Team, Parks Police, Tree and Horticultural contractors in Wandsworth who have been working to maintain greenspaces for you to use during the lockdown period.

Our principle aim during the COVID-19 pandemic has been to ensure that greenspaces remain accessible to as many people as possible. Since lockdown began they have been in exceptionally high demand. My colleagues and I, like all of you, have needed to react to changing rules and guidelines and the behaviours these have encouraged (like increased use for daily exercise) in order to maintain and manage our them safely for you. 

It has been hard work but most visitors who come to greenspaces have followed the advice and played an important part in helping, but we are not finished yet.

We are all being challenged to think differently about how we behave. We urge you to continue to be alert and sensible, looking out for information, listening to advice and respecting other users who may feel vulnerable. With the increased warm weather comes an even greater numbers of visitors to enjoy our greenspaces and the increased temptation to ignore the guidelines and restrictions that are in place to maintain your safety.

The most recent advice from the Prime Minister on Sunday 10th May 2020 updated guidelines and issued a request to ‘Stay Alert’. Certain changes have been made to the guidance but there are still rules that must be observed if we are to be able to keep our greenspaces open to all. Overall our message remains the same.

  • Social distancing rules remain.  You must keep 2m space between yourselves and others while in the park. 
  • For those who enjoy jogging and cycling please be prepared to stop and wait for others, respect people you pass, allow plenty of space and do not speed. 
  • Please take all your litter home.
  • If you bring a dog to the park please keep them on a lead.  This ensures that dogs do not run off, affecting other people’s use of the space, and requiring you to break social distancing guidelines to retrieve them
  • The impact of Covid-19 on the facilities within parks has been significant too. As I write, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and toilets remain closed.  You must plan for this before you visit. 

We are fortunate in Wandsworth to have such an expanse and variety of quality outdoor green space to enjoy.  My colleagues and I fully understand how valuable this space is for your wellbeing, exercise and the opportunity to connect with nature.  Please continue to be part of this combined effort so that parks and open spaces can remain enjoyable and safe for all to visit.

Thank you.

Neil Blackley

Head of Parks – Enable Leisure and Culture


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