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Come visit our parks, just not Tilgate says Crawley Council as questions continue over car parks closure

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Crawley Borough Council is asking residents who want to go to the towns parks to try other ones besides Tilgate Park over worries that social distancing is not able to be maintained due to its popularity.

In a statement released the council says that by encouraging people to visit other parks then it will ‘reduce the burden on Tilgate Park and the residential streets nearby, while the car parks remain closed’.

But residents have questioned why the car parks are still not open despite advice from the government allowing it to happen.

One resident who questioned the decision to keep the car parks closed with Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb said of his response:

“His view is that despite the Government relaxing restrictions ( and these are to be relaxed even more next week ) he doesn’t agree with Boris Johnson and so has decided to maintain a total lockdown on all the parking that feeds into the largest open space in our town Tilgate Forest and Lake.”

How is it that our Council leader seems to know more about this crisis than our National Government and that despite all other resources being relaxed for example , National Parks throughput the UK are now open and the NT has opened all its beach and countryside locations – he still refuses to allow unencumbered  access for those needing to drive a short distance to use these spaces ( I live in Southgate but my dog has bad arthritis and so can’t manage the 3/4 mile road walk to get to Tilgate Forest by foot).

He has repeatedly told me that Tilgate is his biggest source of revenue and everyday it stays closed he is losing income – so why is he so resolutely opposed to giving back a massive area of natural beauty and Council income to the people of Crawley.”

So if Tilgate Park is off the books then where else is there?

Luckily Crawley has a wealth of parks with Broadfield Park, Goffs Park, Memorial Gardens, the Mill Pond and Bewbush Water Gardens, Southgate Park, West Green Park and Worth Park. And several of these have free parking with car parks acctually open.

The council has also provided information on smaller parks and playing fields across the whole town. For more details on Crawley’s gardens and parks visit crawley.gov.uk/culture/parks-and-open-spaces/gardens-and-parks

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“Preventing a second outbreak of Covid-19 means practicing social distancing at all times when away from home. Current visitor numbers at Tilgate Park make enforcing social distancing impossible, which is why we are actively asking residents not to visit the park at this time.”

Coronavirus

BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus cases jump 200% in one week across Crawley

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On Monday 14th Sept the new “rule of six” comes into force across England with news breaking today that children under 12 will not be exempt from it.

The new rules mean people are limited to meeting in groups no larger than six people both indoors and outdoors.

The rule ‘could’ potentially be coming slightly too late as new figures for Crawley reveal a 200% jump in recorded cases in just one week.

People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital

Data from the UK public health bodies shows that in last week (2nd – 8th Sept) there were 15 NEW cases reported in Crawley. This number does not seem a lot but when compared to the week(s) before it shows a dramatic jump.

In only the previous week there were only 5 new cases reported, with 4 separate days reporting no cases at all.

But in the past week this figure jumped with 8 reported in one day alone.

So far the worst single day for reported cases in Crawley was back on the 28th April when 19 cases were reported in a day.

To date, since recording began there have been 502 cases, with 77 of these resulting in death.

As more parts of the UK are also having to deal with stricter lock down restrictions Crawley remains below the national average of cases per 100,000 at 13. The national average is currently 18.

The towns neighbour, Horsham, saw an even greater rise of 360% with 23 cases reported between 2-8 Sept.

Across the UK an additional 3.497 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, an increase of 36% on the same day a week ago, taking the total to 365,174.

A local doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said her and her colleagues were very worried about how too many people were downplaying the risk of infection.

“I hear every day some people talking about how the number of people in hospital through Covid are so low so we shouldn’t worry about the number of cases increasing – but we should. People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital.”

But questions on how the new rules will be enforced are still not clear with new statements released from the Police that talk about ‘engaging, encouraging and explaining’ before even considering taking any action.

A source close to Sussex Police has told Crawley News 24 that there is both confusion and dismay within the ranks about who and how officers are going to contend with issues of larger groups than allowed meeting up, while juggling the increase of daily issues that are returning since the full lockdown.

Another source said they were awaiting a full outline of what powers the police really will have on Monday (14th Sept) before officers would be given full guidance on what they should do.

Sussex Police told Crawley News 24:

“As we start to see a rise in infections it is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Everyone has a role to play limiting the outbreak by following the regulations, including those about gatherings which will be limited to six people both indoors and outside when the new legislation comes into force on Monday 14 September.

People need to take personal responsibility for their actions, in particular during this heath emergency, and this includes adhering to the latest government guidance.

Sussex Police will continue its approach of engaging, encouraging and explaining the current regulations and only taking enforcement action when necessary. “

Only 1 week after schools reopen, a couple of weeks after a house party alarmed residents in the town, (and Crawley Council confirming they were investigating the event), and new rules coming into force, all eyes will now be set to see just how well the town responds to the new measures and whether the rise is just a ‘blip’ or if it is a sign of a returning rise.

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