THE park at Himley Hall is now closed after people people flouted social distancing measures.

Dudley Council has been forced to close the beauty spot, which initially stayed open after Monday's lockdown measures, as people were still gathering in groups at the park.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, ordered the grounds to be closed with immediate effect and said people have a duty to listen to the health advice to protect people from the coronavirus.

Lockdown measures state people should only leave their homes for essential shopping, to go to work if absolutely necessary and for exercise once a day.

Once out people must follow the social distancing rules by keeping at least two metres apart from each other.

Gatherings of more than two people from different households are also banned.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said: "I had several reports that people were blatantly flouting the expert advice and gathering in large groups within Himley Park. We had tried to keep the grounds open so that people had somewhere to get fresh air and exercise, but I’m afraid we cannot allow people to put each other at risk by gathering in large numbers there.

"The advice from government has been very clear – stay at home to protect yourself and our NHS. If you have to go out, for essential things, then you must observe the recommended social distancing.

"The only way to reduce the spread of coronavirus is if we all reduce our contact with other people.

"If people follow these rules we will all be doing what we can to defend ourselves from this terrible outbreak. If people do not follow this expert advice, I will be forced to close more parks and open spaces.”

The park and hall are now closed until further notice.