Green shoots of a return to normality

The sign on the tree opposite the road leading to Bracebridge Pool announcing the reaping of the popular kiosk

This is the first sign, literally, that Sutton Coldfield may finally be getting back to some normality after 12 months of Covid-19 destruction and despair.

With the government’s roadmap recently announced, children will return to school on Monday. People will also be allowed to take part in recreation outdoors such as meeting for a coffee or a picnic with their household, support bubble or with one other person from outside their household.

This gives the green light for the likes of The Bracebridge to reopen its outdoor kiosk to people visiting the pool and Sutton Park itself and for people to socialise in a limited way.

As the successful vaccine rollout continues, from 29 March, the week in which most schools will break up for Easter, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other. This includes in private gardens.

Most Sutton residents will hope the scenes from last December at the venue, just before the last lockdown, can be avoided with scores of people queuing at the takeaway ignoring social distancing.

Regular park walker Patrick James, who lives in Four Oaks, welcomed the news, but wants the behaviour of people visiting the park to improve.

Pictures taken last December show how large gatherings at Bracebridge Pool left beer bottles, coffee cups, food wrappers and other rubbish scattered around and in the pool itself.

The 50-year-old said: “The last thing we want to see is the mindless and selfish behaviour of people who treat a precious beauty spot as a rubbish tip.

“Bracebridge Pool is a particularly picturesque spot and an oasis for many during troubled lockdown times. People should treat it with respect.”

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