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Islington children missing out on playtime, says Green councillor

PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 October 2014

Oldfield Road was closed to traffic on Sunday as the new play street scheme launched in Hackney

Oldfield Road was closed to traffic on Sunday as the new play street scheme launched in Hackney

Geoff Crawford

Children in hundreds of the borough’s streets are being needlessly denied the opportunity to play in them, the town hall’s only Green councillor has said.

Caroline RussellCaroline Russell

Islington Council has a 14-page list of at least 670 roads that are “unsuitable” to be used as Play Streets, a loophole which allows residents to close their street to traffic for a day so their children can play safely.

The council opened many of the borough’s streets up to the policy in April but Cllr Russell says Islington is being far more obstructive than other boroughs.

“It’s really mystifying that the council has set it up in such a way,” said Cllr Russell.

“It seems they’re making it as difficult as possible for communities to come together.

“A large number of the roads that are on the list are not on bus routes or diversion routes and are not main roads.

”They said that residential streets and cul-de-sacs will be deemed more suitable but many of the streets on the list are exactly that.

“They’ve got a list of unsuitable roads but haven’t bothered to make a list of roads that are suitable.

When challenged over the list at Thursday’s full council meeting, Labour’s transport chief Cllr Claudia Webbe said that all the streets on the list were ineligible due to strict rules put in place regarding the policy.

She invited Cllr Russell to create a list of specific roads that she felt should not be on the list.

Cllr Webbe said: “I would like to go on a journey with you to look at the signage we have, anything that enhances play streets is worth a good look.

“But I’m told that we took very clear legal and police advice about what legislation to use.

“I’m told we’ve got it absolutely correct, and it’s the same legislation that other boroughs use.

“Some streets are unsuitable due to the nature of the roads, some might be bus routes or diversion routes.

“If you can identify from that list the streets that you think are worthy of us looking at I think we will look at it.”

Cllr Russell said she looked forward to meeting with cllr Webbe to visit some of the streets deemed unsuitable.

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