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Covid: Aberystwyth playground closures 'reign of fear'

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image captionCouncils in Wales are able to reopen their playgrounds if they choose to do so

Parents are travelling miles to let their children play after a town council failed to reopen play areas, a councillor has said.

While many playgrounds have reopened across Wales, those run by Aberystwyth Town Council remain closed.

Father-of-two Alex Mangold said the council had "gone overboard" and some parents were taking their children to Machynlleth, Powys, to play.

The town council said it had made the sensible choice during the pandemic.

On 20 July playgrounds across Wales were allowed to be reopened during changes to the Welsh Government's lockdown restrictions.

But individual councils can chose to keep the areas closed, if they feel they are not safe.

Mr Mangold, a Labour town councillor, said the three play areas run by the town council had now been closed for more than six months, and he had been inundated with messages from parents concerned about their children's wellbeing.

He has now reported the town council, led by Plaid Cymru, to the Children's Commissioner, in a bid to get them reopened.

"I know of cases where children have not even been able to go outside," said Mr Mangold.

"People can meet in pubs and have a pint or go to work, but children can't play in playgrounds. It doesn't seem fair and explaining to them that they can't play with their friends is hard."

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image captionMr Mangold said he was worried about children during the pandemic

Mr Mangold said the town council had made the decision based on nearby schools keeping children in bubbles, but that parents should have a choice.

"We have gone way overboard in Aberystwyth and in Ceredigion, we are taking away the ability of people to make their own choices," he said.

"People will not listen to reason, there seems to be a reign of fear."

The council said the playgrounds close to schools would remain closed following advice over school bubbles, while the third play area would reopen once work was completed to upgrade the site.

A spokeswoman said: "The decision has not been made lightly, and was made in consultation with local schools."

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