Closure of Stephens House & Gardens
The decision to close the house and gardens was taken in advance of the further guidance issued by the Prime Minister on the evening of 23 March 2020. We believe that the message from the Prime Minister was clear and that we have acted responsibility.
While it is still permissible to take solitary daily exercise, the use of playgrounds and outdoor gyms is banned. As the gardens contain both and it is not possible to close either of these in isolation we have taken the decision to close entirely. Additionally, based on the evidence of activities within the gardens on Monday 23 March it has become clear that many are not practicing safe self-distancing and as is usually the case at times like these sadly the many will suffer for the few.
As an employer we have also to consider the all latest advice on the Coronavirus outbreak, particularly in relation to the need to ‘stay at home unless you are an essential worker’ Avenue House Estate Trust and Stephens House & Gardens has to consider our duty to our staff and the public at large. Bringing staff to open the gardens is a non-essential task and also puts staff at unnecessary risk.
Therefore based on the evidence before us and having assessed the risk the gardens are closed and will remain closed until we are advised otherwise by the government.
We will also continue to monitor Government advice and inform the public through our website and social media channels should the current situation change.
In response to those that have asked why the gardens have been closed recently in advance of the current situation we would advise that this was for reasons of safety due to the flooding caused by the highest ever rainfall on record during the month of February. For those of you that have visited since we reopened you will have seen the reasons with your own eyes. For those that have not there have been many pictures posted on social media to underpin why we closed.
Perhaps at this time you could take a moment to think about the team that provide the gardens for your pleasure free of charge throughout the year. These are the same staff that are currently being laid off because the house is not generating the income that we need to maintain the free access to the gardens. If you are not one of those that currently and very kindly makes a regular donation to the Trust to support our work this might the time to have a look at our website and look at the various ways you can donate. http://www.stephenshouseandgardens.com/get-involved/donate By doing this you can ensure that when this crisis is past we will still be here to reopen and provide the fantastic facilities you have enjoyed, probably without even realising how it was funded.
We will always put the safety of those using the gardens and of our staff at the forefront of everything we do.