Play streets pilot
What are play streets?
Residents close off their streets to through traffic for a few hours weekly or monthly so that children can play out more safely and neighbours come together – making streets friendlier and more fun for all.
Redbridge Council will be working with a number of partners to encourage residents to pilot the scheme to assess whether there is an appetite for play streets across the borough and to determine the level of resources required to roll it out successfully.
Applications are now closed for the pilot. If you would like to receive future updates about play streets and other community and street scene initiatives please sign up to the "our neighbourhood" enewsletter.
Apply to run a play street
Before completing this application form please visit the play streets pilot web page. It is important that you understand how road closures work, the health and safety measures that need to be taken as well as the resident consultation required to ensure the successful completion of this application and success of your play street.
Please note that the deadline for applications is 24 June and the earliest you can run a play street is 30 July.
If you would like to run a play street on or after Monday 30 July, you must submit an application by Sunday 24 June.
Future deadlines will be published subject to the outcome of this pilot.
You must consult residents and businesses by Monday 2 July at the very latest. You must provide evidence that residents and businesses in your road agree to your play street. This could be a simple form signed by all affected residents which you can email to email@example.com
Play streets is a growing national movement encouraging informal playing out. Some of the benefits include:
- improving children’s health and wellbeing
- building stronger communities and a sense of belonging
- encouraging more active citizens
- changing culture around children’s freedom
Play streets have been running successfully in places like Hackney and Bristol. Here are some comments from participants and parents:
“I get a distinct post-session high – I feel exhilarated and inspired to be part of something that could be a game-changer, in terms of changing the way people live together in neighbourhoods, and in terms of the way we think about streets: that they are not for the sole use of cars and drivers.”
We’re really lucky that we’ve got this ideal scenario of people from diverse backgrounds … coming together. The penny drops that we’re all a community. I feel some responsibility for my community and the problems in it. If we can start with what’s in our street then that can make a difference.”
“People in our street have got more chatty and neighbours have got to know each other better. Sometimes it feels like I can’t walk down the street without having to stop and have lots of chats!”
Read more about the benefits of playing out.
To help you get started with your own play street, the four main steps to follow are:
- Consult with your neighbours
- Sign up supporters
- Apply to the Council
- Play out as often as once a week!
As a first step, download the playing out guide and explore the fantastic resources and templates on the Playing Out website.
Redbridge will be accepting applications for play streets from now until Sunday 24 June for play streets starting as early as Monday 30 July, subject to approval and resident consultation. This means that any residents affected must be consulted by Monday 2 July.
We will be accepting applications for up to five play streets during this pilot period. Applications will be considered on a first come first serve basis.
An assessment will be carried out once each of the five play streets has taken place. The outcomes of the pilot will be made public and a decision will be made about what support the Council will provide in the future. All five play streets will be allowed to continue as per the original application.
Neighbours volunteer to ‘steward’ road closures. People living in the street can still drive in and out at 5mph, guided by the stewards. Through traffic is redirected.
Once the road is closed off children come out to play, often with simple things like bikes, balls and skipping ropes. Parents are responsible for their children.
People without young children and older residents also join in – chatting with neighbours over cups of tea and sometimes helping with stewarding too.
Schools and community groups are encouraged to organise a play street near their premises to provide alternative opportunities for play.
Organising a school or community play street is the same as a ‘normal’ play street but with a few added extras. It is important to ensure that both the schools and the residents are fully consulted, and on board and that the school or community centre can stay open during the street play session. They must submit an application in the same way as a resident application.
Visit the Hackney Play website for useful resources on running a school play street.
The Council does not require this as a matter of course but if you plan a large scale session, we may want to satisfy ourselves that you have insurance cover.
Whilst it is impossible to eliminate all risk, as the organiser of a play street it is important to think through all potential risks and how you will manage them well ahead of your first session – and you can use the risk assessment template for guidance (you can find a link below).
Many experts on childhood now recognise that risk-taking in play is beneficial for children in terms of their physical development, self-esteem and happiness. Accidents such as children falling off scooters or tripping over will happen in play streets, as they do in parks, playgrounds and streets on any normal day.
The most serious risk to manage is from cars/drivers entering at speed, but this is minimised by having stewards who follow the procedures around road closures and stewarding.
We also recommend doing a walkabout of your street to identify any particular risks – e.g. are there any entry points to flats with car-parks? If so you might want to think about how you will manage this, perhaps having an extra steward stationed here to stop cars driving out at speed.
If there is a steep hill you may decide you want to reduce the risk of children riding down very fast, maybe having an agreed area for bikes and trikes which you could mark out with chalk.
In addition, do a final walkabout of the street just before the session starts - looking out for any extra risks - e.g. broken glass in the street – and remove any obvious hazards. Each time you do a play street – review your risk assessment and update to reflect any new risks or extra steps you’ve found to help manage the closure
In general, the best way to prevent being held liable for anything that goes wrong is to make sure you do everything in a responsible way, prepare well and encourage everyone to be respectful about other people and property. Try to generate a sense of shared responsibility for making sure the sessions are safe.
The Council will fund the costs of whatever legal Traffic Order may be required. Should an order be needed to cover the closure of your road then you will be sent a notice to affix on a lamp post to advise other local people. There will be no charge for this.
Playing Out is a national organisation supporting a growing UK-wide street play movement. They have some fantastic resources which you can find on the Playing Out website.
- Playing Out manual
- Editable playing out poster
- Template risk assessment
- Steward sign-up sheet
- Meeting invitation
- Confirmation flyer
- Consultation and cover letter
- Car notice template
- Stewards’ briefing
- Playing out leaflet and translations
- Reminder letter
- The Little Book of Playing Out