10:00AM, Sunday 19 April 2020
Pedestrian entrances along a lane leading to a popular country park in Hurst have been closed due to a ‘high number of people’ ignoring Government restrictions and ‘making unnecessary journeys’.
The pedestrian entrances to Dinton Pastures Country Park via Sandford Lane have been closed, while the public right of way and remaining pedestrian entrances stay open.
Car parks had already been closed at the site to stop people making car journeys to use the park.
An update on the park’s website said: “Despite the car park closures, a high number of people are continuing to ignore Government instructions and are making unnecessary journeys by driving to Dinton Pastures.
“Furthermore, cars are parking precariously along Sandford Lane and in some cases blocking emergency access to site.
“We are regrettably left with no option but to take further steps to try and prohibit non-essential travel.”
It added: “This closure is in place to reduce temptation for those people who insist upon driving to Dinton as a destination day, morning, or afternoon out.
“By ignoring guidance you are putting lives at risk.
“Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. Thank you.”
Discussing the decision, leader of Wokingham Borough Councill (WBC), John Halsall, said: “The reason that we’ve had to modify the entrance to the parks is because of people driving to them and then using the park. The Government instruction is that you should not make unnecessary journeys and therefore reluctantly we had to shut our car parks and Sandford Lane is part of that issue.
“The Government has issued very clear guidelines to social distancing and what people should be doing, ignoring that just endangers lives.
“People should do what the Government is saying, to keep to their homes unless for one of the four reasons which you should leave the home, one of which is daily exercise and our open spaces in Wokingham continue to be open so that people can exercise.”
He added: “We’ve not closed Dinton Pastures, we don’t intend to close Dinton Pastures unless we are told to by the Government and the Government at the moment is saying that people should exercise.”
The move, which took effect on Thursday, April 9, comes just over a week after an update on the park’s website on Saturday, March 28 stated that all car parks and public toilets were to close ‘until further notice’.
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