Play Street “trial” gives children the opportunity to play outside

Play streets pilot

Parents, neighbours and residents are being given the opportunity, if they wish, to apply to Lewes District Council to request the temporary closure of the road where they live for a few hours on selected days or evenings to give children the opportunity to play out.

Lewes District Council has recently been instrumental in turning a request from residents to hold a Play Street in Wheatsheaf Gardens in Lewes into a reality. A resident involved told us: “My children aged 5-13 all really enjoyed the freedom of playing outside together. It was lovely to be able to spend time with neighbours and chat knowing the children were safe. It brought the community together.” 

Cllr Tony Nicholson, Lead Member for Customers and Partners at Lewes District Council said: “Following a request from residents in Lewes interested in running regular playing out sessions in their street, we want to make it easy for parents and neighbours to apply to close their road and turn it into a play out area. I’m sure people can remember the benefits of playing out in the street many years ago and the strong community spirit it fostered between neighbours and parents. By running this trial for a few months throughout the summer, with the help of parents and neighbours who have requested street play in their road, we will be able to devise a process that works for all.”

The idea to allow closing off of residential roads for a few hours at a time to allow children to play freely with friends has been successful in other parts of the country.  There is evidence to show that children and young people can improve their confidence, self-esteem and resilience by having opportunities to play on their own street, make friends and engage in physical active play.

The current legislation requires an application to the local authority for a temporary road closure using the existing road closure procedure.   

Residents in the road where the proposed play street is situated must agree to the idea. Applicants have to demonstrate that at least 60% or residents and businesses affected agree to the road being closed.

Parents and other residents should be available to supervise the play and ensure the road is closed off to vehicles with signs, allowing for access to residents to park in existing bays.

Story published on 28 July 2016