A CITY councillor has threatened to ‘rip down’ a sign banning entry to an Oxford park.

David Henwood called for Littlemore Parish Council to ‘urgently review’ its decision to close Oxford Road and Herschel Crescent recreational grounds, adding the authority had ‘clearly’ misinterpreted Government guidance in closing the entire park rather than closing the play equipment.

The parish council chairman Lynda Comber has defended the 'extremely difficult' decision, however, saying initial closures of play equipment and sports courts were not headed with people 'climbing over locked gates' and 'ignoring safety signs'.

She added it would be reviewed at the end of the week but part-time maintenance staff were isolating at home, as they are not classed as key workers, and so it was not possible to patrol the parks.

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Mr Henwood said there was a path providing a 'vital link' to Sainsbury's running through Oxford Road recreation ground for those who don't drive.

He added: "Many residents simply don’t have gardens in which to exercise, hence the parks represent to many a vital means of recreation."

He called the parish council's actions 'excessive and aggressive' and said they were not in the public interest.

Sharing a picture of a notice at Oxford Road recreation ground, he said: "If the parish council does not take it down immediately, I will rip it down."

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Ms Comber's full statement said: "Littlemore Parish Council take the safety of our residents very seriously, upon receiving the government's announcement late in evening of March 23 we asked our maintenance team to close off playgrounds, sports courts and all outdoors play equipment"

"At the start of these closures individuals were adamant to continue to use this equipment climbing over locked gates, ignoring safety signs and even removing safety signs.

"Due to the vast layout of this equipment we are unable to erect fencing to block use of this equipment, following advice the parish council had to make the extremely difficult decision to close off Oxford Road and Herschel Crescent recreational grounds.

"Despite these closures it has been reported individuals continue to ignore the signs and use the playground equipment and play football clearly ignoring guidance on social distancing and playground closures."

She continued: "Littlemore Parish Council have to take into consideration that our part time maintenance team are not classed as key workers, and therefore we are following government advice for them to isolate for this initial three week period.

"This means that we cannot patrol the parks, empty bins and carry out essential work Risk Assessment checks on playground equipment that are required.

"A review of these closures is scheduled for the end of this week and will take into account all risks and advice available to us."