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Athletics track temporarily closed to protect safety

News release 9679, published on 03 Apr 2020
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has temporarily closed its athletics track at Down Grange in line with the government’s latest guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the restrictions last week, stating that people can only leave their homes for four reasons - to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where "absolutely necessary”, to shop for essential items and for any medical or care needs.

Despite the closure of play areas and outdoor equipment, residents have still been able to enjoy a daily walk or run at a safe distance from others to get essential exercise in the borough’s parks and playing fields.

Down Grange athletics track has remained open for people to exercise, however the council has seen an increase in the number of people using it. The facility has now been temporarily closed to protect people while taking their daily exercise.

Cabinet Member for Borough Development and Improvement Cllr Rebecca Bean said: “We know that many people are enjoying and cherishing their once a day opportunity to exercise and we know how important that is. All athletics training was suspended on the track in response to government guidance, however, we left the outdoor facility open for individuals to exercise safely.

“Unfortunately, it has become a popular place for people to exercise and we feel we cannot secure their safety by remaining open. Fortunately, the running track is positioned in Down Grange which benefits from acres of playing fields and green space where people living nearby can safely exercise while maintaining a 2 metre gap between them. I would like to thank everyone for their support in observing this temporary closure and ask that people do not go on to the track until the restrictions are lifted.”

The borough council’s Safe Space campaign is encouraging people to exercise safely if cycling, running or walking in public by keeping at least two metres away from each other.

Residents are also being urged not to meet up with friends following the latest guidance around gatherings of more than two people, except for family members from the same house.

The council’s Community Safety Patrol Officers are working closely with the police and taking appropriate action to break up any gatherings in public areas.

For more information about the council’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/coronavirus  

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