Dovestones to reopen today

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 15 May 2020

United Utilities is re-opening the car parks at at one of Oldham’s major beauty spots, Dovestone reservoir, from today (Friday).

However, visitors are still being urged to observe social distancing and follow specific guidance and signage at the site.

The picture (above) was taken shortly after 2pm yesterday afternoon and shows motorists completely ignored the no parking signs on the main A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth Road at Binn Green.

Despite car parks reopening today, without WC facilities, locals fear a return of major problems.

United Utilities' latest move follows the latest Government advice which relaxes the previous restrictions on driving to the countryside for exercise.  

While the car parks and gated entrances are now open, toilets and other facilities on site will remain closed for the time-being in order to maintain safe distances between visitors.

Car park pay-stations will not be in use to help minimise any physical contact.

Paula Steer is United Utilities' director responsible for health and safety and estate management.

She explained: "We know how much people enjoy visiting the beautiful countryside around our reservoirs, and it will come as welcome news the Government's lockdown restrictions are beginning to lift.

"It's important to remember this is a phased approach and we are relying on visitors to be public-spirited. 

"Please be courteous to our employees and local residents - reservoirs are their workplace and home - and be prepared for it to be busy.

"You may struggle to find a parking space, and if that happens it may be better to come back another day rather than block narrow roads or put yourself or others at risk in crowded areas.

"We are all in this together, and anything you can do to ease the pressure, like taking your litter home with you, would be much appreciated."

Visitors will see signage at the reservoir sites reminding them to observe a two-metre social distance from those outside their household.

Barbecues, fires and camping are not permitted and swimming is not allowed in the reservoir.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Communities, said: "The reopening of Dovestone will be welcomed by residents and we expect it to get busy over the coming days.

"If you do decide to visit think about your health and that of others - you must social distance.

"You also need to think about the people who live in the area and the countryside.

"Don't park irresponsibly and do not endanger life and the moors by taking barbecues up there.

"Services are already stretched due to the Coronavirus so we all need to work together at this time."

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