New measures are being put in place to help reduce visitor numbers at Dinton Pastures Country Park and ensure that social distancing rules can be followed.
Amongst these measures will be an online booking system for the play area between 10am and 4pm on weekends and during school holidays. From 30 January, visitors will need to book a one-hour time slot online, prior to their visit. Staff members will be onsite to monitor usage and clear the play area once the hour is up.
In addition, the overflow carpark was closed on 23 January and will remain closed until lockdown ends, at the earliest. A formal Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is being put in place and will be enforceable from this week to prevent visitors from parking in the surrounding areas. Traffic cones have been put in place in the meantime.
Other measures include increased and more prominent signage, as well as additional presence from the Council’s Covid Support Officers to observe visitor behaviour and help promote best practice.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure says: “We are aware that local parks and play areas have been extremely busy in recent weeks, especially Dinton Pastures.
“This is of course a testament to how wonderful these outdoor spaces are; however, we do need to ensure that they remain safe places to visit. As such, we are investing in the necessary actions to help reduce visitor numbers and stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.
“Regular exercise is integral to our physical and mental health and we do not want to stop people from being able to access these outdoor spaces. However, it is imperative that we listen to feedback and act accordingly. We also need our residents to play their part.
“Outdoor exercise should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary. Please only visit Dinton if you are a Wokingham Borough resident who lives nearby – ideally in Winnersh, Woodley or Hurst.”
The play area will have capacity for 150 people in each one-hour time slot, which is less than 50% of its usual capacity. Double bookings will not be permitted, and it is asked that people only book if they know they will show up, to save disappointing other families.
Alongside this, all children should be under the supervision of an adult at all times – this will not be the responsibility of staff members as they will be focusing on safety numbers and marshalling entry and exit points.
Visitors are encouraged to arrive at, or just after, the time of their booking slot to avoid over-crowding and prevent any queuing for the session. At the end of each session a whistle will be blown, and visitors will be encouraged to leave the site. There is a 15-minute period before the next slot begins.
“We appreciate all the feedback that our residents have given on our parks and play areas and feel that the decision to limit visitor numbers at Dinton in this way is the right one,” says Cllr Parry Batth.
“We do not want to have to our close our parks, though we may need to take further action if social distancing rules aren’t followed. Please continue to follow the national guidance and help bring infection rates down.”
To book a slot in the play area at Dinton Pastures, please visit its website.
The following roads fall under the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO): Davis Street, Lea Heath Way, Davis Way (leading to Douglas Grange and Little Hill Road), Sanford Lane, Mohawk Way and Colemansmoor Road. Any residents living on these roads should park on their driveway.
If they are unable to do so, or have no off-street parking, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org with vehicle details and proof of residency (such as a council tax letter, V5C vehicle logbook or utility bill).
Their details will be added to the system and they will be given a dispensation to park whilst these temporary restrictions are in place.