CAR parks at council-owned beauty spots across Leeds have been closed as part of the fight against Covid-19.

Leeds City Council announced the move, which means popular parks and walking spots like Otley Chevin Forest Park and Golden Acre Park are no longer reachable by car, on Sunday, March 29.

Posting the announcement on Twitter, the council stressed that people should be staying near their homes. It said: “All car parks at Leeds parks are being closed - some with barriers, others may just have notices - but please be safe as government advice is you should not be travelling to exercise.”

Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) had been seeking clarification on the issue on behalf of a number of residents. He was given this update by a council officer on Sunday: “The Government have now amended their advice to be clear that people should not be travelling to exercise and the police now have the powers to take action against those that do.

“So from tonight we will be closing car parks in parks where we have barriers in place, which will include Golden Acre park.”

Cllr Anderson understands the reason for the closures but has concerns that the move may prove divisive. He said: “This is one of these guidelines which will definitely lead to people falling into two camps.

“Some areas will get busier as a result because they are more accessible on foot - for example, some of the walks around Bramhope and the Chevin.

“Social isolating will become a greater issue and possibly there will be an increase in dog fouling.

“We need to keep all residents on side.

“So far, based on the people who have taken the time to respond to me in respect of this message, the majority have been supportive but there is no doubt a significant minority are very upset this restriction has been placed upon them.”

The council’s parks and beauty spots themselves are to remain open.