Epping playgrounds will remain closed until they are deemed safe to reopen.

Last month the government announced playgrounds could reopen from July 4 but Epping Town Council is still in the process of carrying out risk assessments.

Once the five playgrounds run by the council – Stonards Hill, Ivy Chimneys, Lower Swaines, Frampton Road, and Parklands – are deemed safe they will be reopened.

A council spokesperson said: "Playgrounds, due to the high metal content and nature of use/users are still potentially high-risk areas during the coronavirus health situation.

"Despite locking the playgrounds in March, in accordance with government guidance, parents and children have continued to break into them, putting themselves and others at high risk.

"May we please ask you to respect our closures and wait until the playgrounds, outdoor gym and skate park are marked open.

"We are currently risk assessing our playgrounds and making the necessary safety checks and changes to make them as safe as we can.

"We will temporarily remove any equipment that does not conform to the government’s safety advice."

The risk assessment is expected to be completed by mid-July.

Similarly, Buckhurst Parish Council has announced the playgrounds it operates will also remain closed, pending risk assessments.

Issues such as cleaning the equipment and limiting the number of users at any time need to be resolved before the play areas can reopen.

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