Major south London park closed after 3,000 sun worshippers flout Covid-19 lockdown rules

Harriet Brewis

One of London's most popular parks will be shut from tomorrow after thousands of sun worshippers breached Government lockdown rules.

Brockwell Park in south London saw more than 3,000 visitors over the course of Saturday, "many of them sunbathing or in large groups," Lambeth council said.

The council announced the news on Twitter, describing the revellers' behaviour as "unacceptable."

It tweeted: “Despite clear advice, over 3000 people spent today in Brockwell Park, many of them sunbathing or in large groups.

"This is unacceptable. Unfortunately, the actions of a minority now means that, following police advice, Brockwell Park will be closed tomorrow. #StayHome."

The council added: “We are sorry we’ve had to take this decision. This wouldn’t need to happen if people followed the clear instructions from the Govt.

"We are doing this for the wider safety of the public. A minority of people have not followed the guidance – regrettably we have to act.”

Walkers enjoy the park last week, when the weather was considerably cooler (REUTERS)

As temperatures soared over the course of the day, Twitter users shared their concern at the state of the park.

One user wrote: "Really think @lambeth_council need to close #BrockwellPark - I’ve been going there for my daily walk & every single time some idiot jogger has come within 1-2 feet of me and there are groups everywhere.

"Close it this weekend- people clearly care more about good weather than heath."

Another cited official guidance as she shared photos of people lying in the grass.

She wrote at around 5pm: "In Lambeth 30 minutes ago; importance of 'one form of exercise', 'minimising time spent outside' and '2 metres apart' not getting across to many.

"My second outing in two weeks, but next time think cycling along normally busy roads a better idea."

Under current social distancing measures, Brits can only leave the house if they are key workers travelling to their jobs, shopping or health essentials, or for exercise once a day.

Another user complained: "So I can’t go to Brockwell Park tomorrow for my run because 3000 selfish sunbathers have forced Lambeth Council to close it.

"So instead of exercising in an open space I am now forced onto pavements which are crowded with fly tipping, dustbins and the idiots walking 3 abreast."

It came as other London parks filled with people eager to soak up the rays.

In north London, visitors relaxed and admired the view from the grassy heights of Primrose Hill.

While in Greenwich Park, south London, police officers were seen chatting to people at risk of breaching official restrictions.

The Standard contacted Met Police to ask whether fines had been issued to sunbathers on Saturday, as part of the Government's coronavirus crackdown.

A spokesperson responded: "We are not getting into a running commentary into what we have and haven’t done in terms of enforcement, but any enforcement is always going to be a last resort.

"Our job is to speak to people, explain the restrictions and why it is so important to stay at home because every single one of us has a role to play to keep everybody safe."

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