Spring time has arrived which means more of us will be spending time outside. Play streets create a space for young children to play, turning temporarily closed roads into a safe, imaginative place for kids to get out and enjoy. Nationwide, the introduction of play streets have helped people to come together, creating stronger communities and new friendships.
Would you like to see more children playing safely out on your street, maybe like you did as a child? We can help you bring your street back to life, for a few hours anyway, with a little help from your neighbours. If you want to have your street closed off for a few of hours once a month to give local kids the opportunity to play out on the street, it may just be possible.
Is your road suitable?
Play streets can only be hosted on a residential street - a main road or one with a lot of daily traffic flow cannot be partially closed. You will need to email the council at firstname.lastname@example.org. To help you, they will confirm whether your road can actually be closed, and if it can, they can email you with letter templates to help keep your neighbours informed. They will also help with the survey (that has to be completed) and other helpful stuff to make your play street a success.
To be allowed to close off your street, even for a few hours, you will need to get your neighbours on board with the idea. Streets can be closed for up to three hours, but it has to be daylight.
Knock on a few doors and just ask. For the play street to work there needs to be children there – there is good chance other parents and grandparents in the area would love to help get kids off the sofa and outside playing, they might even offer to help you make it happen.
Remember to share all the positives about the play street idea – getting kids active, playing together, using their imagination etc
The admin bit
To make it official, we will give you a draft a letter to complete which includes the link to an online survey for your neighbours to fill in to show their support – don’t worry, the transport planning team will help with this bit, and get as many of those lovely neighbours who said they would like a play street to sign up.
The council will arrange a Traffic Management Order (TMO) letting everyone know about the intention to close the street on that day at those times. The cost of the TMO is expensive, so the council tends to only apply for these on a quarterly basis – so planning your play street in advance is essential. The TMO will be published in two local newspapers, and the notice for an application for a TMO has an objection period of 6 weeks. If the TMO is issued, it does not expire.
The fun bit
Once the TMO is published, you will receive a free ‘Playing Out’ starter pack. This will include tips and advice on how to run a successful play street, a couple of high visibility jackets and everything you need to get started. The council’s Play Street team may also be able to help with some of the printing – so call 020 8825 6426 and ask.