Strathclyde Park at centre of lockdown row amidst safety fears

Strathclyde Park is continuing to act as a magnet for drivers despite council chiefs closing the green amenity’s car park to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

Although no parks have closed within North Lanarkshire Council boundaries, the authority has taken a secondary step of barring access to vehicles – meaning that anyone wishing to take their allotted amount of exercise during the emergency must head there by foot.

Despite the get-tough move, high numbers of cars have been seen bumper-to- bumper at the location which locals are choosing to use for a walk or a run. These scenes made the national news.

AndNLC is now determined to put a stop to it .

A spokesperson said: “We had already closed all car parks from 7 am last Tuesday, March 24. The main road in Strathclyde Park is used for access to Bothwellhaugh Cemetery and has also been used by businesses in the park over the last week to make their premises secure.

“We are now taking steps to ensure the park is inaccessible to vehicles, except when a funeral is scheduled. But we would ask people to take responsibility for their own actions.

“What we have seen over this weekend potentially increases transmission of Coronavirus and risks lives.

“We will be working closely with Police Scotland to make sure that the kind of behaviour we have seen over the weekend is not repeated. But the message is simple: do not drive to any of our country parks.”

Meanwhile, there have been various reports that another Motherwell beauty spot full of endangered wildfowl had been targeted as a meet-up spot by teenagers.

This was amidst claims in one national newspaper that ‘hundreds of youths’ had converged on Baron’s Haugh nature reserve. Police Scotland  have since stated that this was wide of the mark.

A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Police Scotland received a report around 8.40pm on Saturday, March 28, of a small number of young people not complying with the government’s guidance and heading towards Baron’s Haugh. Officers attended the area, but did not find any evidence of any gatherings.”

However, an RSPB spokeswoman said: “We have closed all facilities and ask people to refrain from visiting. Where a reserve is local, people may access them for their daily exercise while ensuring they are in line with government guidance on social distancing. It is vital that we all adhere to government legislation to protect ourselves and each other.”

That message has been reinforced by Councillor Agnes Magowan, who has sent a warning out to parents on Facebook asking that youngsters respect these guidelines and refrain from meeting up.

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