The reopening of Harlow's playgrounds has been postponed after an annual safety review of sites was delayed by coronavirus lockdown.

Harlow council is aiming to start a phased reopening of its 43 outdoor playgrounds at the end of July.

Last month the government announced playgrounds could reopen from July 4 but the council's annual review of playgrounds - due to take place this spring - to ensure they meet national safety standards was delayed by lockdown.

A council spokesperson said: “We are in the process of arranging these essential inspections. These inspections will help us look carefully at and consider what additional safety measures and extra inspections we may need to take to enable government guidance to be followed in these facilities.

“With 43 public playgrounds in Harlow it will take some time to review the measures needed in each one and they must have had their annual independent inspection before they reopen. Therefore we were not able to reopen them from July 4. Playgrounds will remain closed for now and should not be used.

“We know this was disappointing for some families and that playgrounds are important to the health and wellbeing of children. But we take health and safety very seriously and our role in helping to prevent the spread of this virus from people using our facilities. We will only reopen our playgrounds when we are confident that they are as safe as they can be.

“The phased reopening of tennis courts, multi-use games areas, the outdoor gym in the town park and the skate park are also planned for the end of July. Similar guidance is being reviewed for these facilities too.

“Although playgrounds and other facilities will not be reopening at this time, our range of parks and open spaces remain open to all and have been accessible throughout the pandemic.”