Public facilities in Torridge are being reopened from Friday (May 15) in response to a relaxation of some coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Torridge District Council has reopened the vehicular gates at Northam Burrows, as well as its Wilkeys Field car park in Westward Ho!, and Bucks Mill car park.

The moves are the first steps in a phased reopening of facilities across the district in line with guidance issued by the Government.

From Monday (May 18), dog restrictions and enforcement will apply at Westward Ho! beach, and enforcement of car parking charges at coastal car parks in Westward Ho! and Appledore will be reinstated.

Public toilets will reopen on Saturday, May 23, but will be limited to individual cubicles and disabled cubicles – which everyone will be to use.

Car parking enforcement in all other Torridge car parks will recommence on June 1.

Skate parks and other playgrounds will remain closed.

Torridge District Council leader Ken James urged people to continue to follow government guidelines and act sensibly.

He said: “We received the information about the lifting of certain restrictions by the Government at the same time as the general public over last weekend.

“So in the last few days we have been working hard to see how we can comply with the new guidance while continuing to safeguard our residents and also our operational staff.

“We are thankful that due to the sacrifices of local businesses and residents we have seen a relatively low infection rate in our area.

“So we are emphasising that this is not a green light for holiday makers to return on mass and we would ask everyone that does visit or for local residents using facilities to continue to follow all the government guidelines that remain in place regarding social distancing and hygiene routines.

“If we all act sensibly and with thought for others we will hopefully continue to make progress towards a return to normal life.”

The council’s interim head of paid service, Steve Hearse, added: “As before and since the crisis began the success or failure of any changes implemented will depend on the public’s help and cooperation.

“The community spirit and actions in Torridge have been outstanding up until now and so we very much hope this continues as we try, with the rest of the country, to edge towards to a more normal way of operating.”