RESTRICTIONS on play areas and Bradford's registry office are being lifted for the first time since March.

Bradford Council has announced that it will be re-opening some outdoor sports and fitness equipment in Council run parks in the coming weeks.

And Bradford's registry office in City Hall is also reopening, allowing people to register births and plan weddings.

The office is currently facing a backlog of 2,200 babies that need to be registered.

Birth registrations are by appointment only and can be arranged by phoning 01274 432151.

The reopening will allow people to start booking weddings from October 1.

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But people hoping to use the service have been urged to be patient, as the Council expects an "overwhelming" response to the reopening.

Play areas, outdoor pitches and the registry office were among the multitude of services and facilities paused when lockdown began.

Although the infection rate in Bradford is among the highest in the country, services are gradually re-opening with new social distancing measures in place.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council said: “It’s good that births can now be registered and people can start making plans for their weddings or civil partnerships, but everyone needs to be aware that the Register Office will now have a huge backlog of work after having to suspend some of their key services for three months, So waiting times are likely to be longer than usual.

“Things will also look and feel very different as measures have been put in place, including measures to maintain social distancing for the safety of the public and our staff.”

Enquiries about a holding a ceremony can be made on Bradford Council’s website -

All deaths and still-birth registrations are continuing to be registered by telephone.

The Council operates 100 multi-use games areas and outdoor gyms, and these facilities will start to become available by the middle of this month for use by young people.

However, children's play areas will remain shut for now.

Experts will inspect the equipment and areas, and will provide distancing and user guidance signs before re-opening.

The Council has said: "The multi-use games areas give opportunities for adults and young people to participate in structured and focused outdoor exercise and informal recreational sport to support and improve their physical and psychological well-being.

"Our parks have been vital in supporting people’s need to enjoy the outdoors during the lockdown and the re-opening of more facilities will enhance that role.

"For health and well-being reasons the children’s play equipment in our parks will have to remain closed and off limits for the time being."

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This is not an exact science and there are no certainties, but following the Government’s recent relaxation of the lockdown rules, we feel the time is right to unlock the gates to multi-use games areas and outside gyms for the use of young people and adults.

“We have to balance the risks of causing long-term harm caused by keeping these areas closed or opening them up again while the virus is still with us. 

 “We will also have to make sure that information signs are in place to help people enjoy themselves in a safe manner.

"As for the children’s play equipment we hope that it will soon be safe enough for us to allow these to re-open as soon as possible.”