THE car park to Anton Lakes has been closed as restrictions around unnecessary travel tighten.

Many car parks were closed by the borough council last week, including the one for Rooksbury Mill where a notice explains that “this car park has been closed due to restrictions on unnecessary travel and self-isolation surrounding government advice on Covid-19”.

And drivers will no longer be able to access Anton Lakes after its car park joined the list of those to be closed by the council.

It comes after police were critical of the number of people using the nature reserve earlier this week.

Officers on patrol had said the beauty spot was “as busy as a sunny Saturday afternoon” on Wednesday. They also said it is “not good enough” that people are still driving to places to do their daily exercise and warned that they could be forced to issue tickets to those not adhering to government guidance.

The message has since been removed, with a follow-up post apologising as “some of the information contained in those posts was inaccurate”.

Police also note that they “are not closing car parks” and that the borough council would be responsible for such closures. Test Valley Borough Council has been contacted for more information.

On Thursday afternoon – the day after police’s comment – the lakes were relatively quiet.

Dog walkers, couples and small families could be seen walking the perimeter of the lake, but in the time that our reporter was there, most appeared to be adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Some were even there on their own, including an ambulance worker stretching his legs on his day off.

Locals add that the majority of people seem to be “keeping their distance” and being “sensible” about the situation.

Carl Templeton lives in St Birstan Gardens, roughly 100 metres from the lakes, and says that while they are usually packed with people the footfall has definitely “quietened down” since the government’s measures were introduced.

“We’ve come around here most days and at one stage we used to get loads of people with their cameras, but it has quietened down. And most people are keeping their distance,” he said.

“I’ve not found it busy at all this week,” added Dawn Templeton. “And we’ve found most people are being sensible.”

Carl also notes that one silver lining to come with the social distancing measures is that strangers out and about in the community are seemingly more open to having a chat as they pass by.

“People are more polite,” he said. “Previously we would say ‘morning’ and they would look at you like had two heads. But now even the youngsters are speaking.”