PARKRUNS in the region are set to return in the near future.

Ministers are to write to local authorities and landowners warning them that they must allow the restart of Parkrun events, Oliver Dowden has said.

The Culture Secretary said he and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will “shortly be sending a very clear message and signal in writing” to officials that the popular, weekly runs should proceed.

It came as shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens called on Mr Dowden to ensure local authorities and landowners “accept the nationally approved framework and allow Parkrun to start again”.

A Local Government Association (LGA) spokesperson said councils “are keen to help manage the safe return of events in their area”.

Parkrun events, which take place outdoors across the country, have had legal permission to resume since March 29 as per the Government’s step one of the road map out of lockdown.

In County Durham, permission has not yet been given for Parkruns to start but Durham County Council has said events will return in the near future.

Susan Robinson, Durham County Council’s head of corporate property and land, said: “Although no permissions have been given for park runs in County Durham at this current time, we are working closely with park run organisers to facilitate the safe return of these popular events in the near future.”

In Darlington, there is one Parkrun location at South Park, which hosts both the 5k and junior 2k events.

The junior event has been back up and running for several weeks now, with permission.

Darlington Borough Council has already given its permission to Parkrun for the 5k to return.

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet member for health and housing, said: “We all know the benefits of regular exercise for our physical and mental wellbeing. I know many people in Darlington are looking forward to being able to get involved in Parkrun at South Park again. The junior event has already been back up and running for a few weeks, with our full permission. I am delighted the council has given the go-ahead for the 5k event to return when the time is right. Let’s hope councils and landowners across the country follow suit, so parkrun is able to return for everyone who wants to take part.”