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Islington streets to close to traffic for children to play safely

Play streets Play streets

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
12:32 PM

A new “play street policy” which will encourage parents to apply for their roads to be closed off to traffic so children can play safely, is being launched in Islington.

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The scheme will allow children to kick a ball, play games and run around in their car-free street for three hours on one or more occasion throughout the year.

It is hoped the play streets will benefit those residents who do not have a garden for their children to play in and bring neighbours together.

Residents’ and visitors’ cars and delivery vehicles will still be able to access play streets but only at walking pace and children will take precedence over vehicles.

Islington Council’s executive member for finance and performance, Cllr Andy Hull, said: “Many Islington families don’t have access to gardens, so creating a safe, fun play area on their doorstep is a great idea.

“We want to support these play streets and encourage communities to imagine what they could do in their road without cars.

“We are making it easy to close your street without too much paperwork or any cost – while keeping children safe.”

Closures will be marshalled by community volunteers and all events will be under adult supervision.

Paul Hocker of London Play, which campaigns for children to have the space to play outside, said: “We welcome Islington Council’s new play street policy.

‘‘It is a borough that has always valued play, most notably through adventure playgrounds.

‘‘Now with a great street play offer it is taking play right to children’s doorsteps.”

The move follows a successful Play Street day in Canning Road, Highbury last December organised by local parents and supported by Liberal Democrat councillors who lobbied the council to roll-out the scheme across the borough.

Highbury Lib Dem councillor, Terry Stacy, who was a steward at the Canning Road street play day, said: “Play Streets are a brilliant way of getting kids out to play together safely.

“There is a real enthusiasm among families and the community to have more play streets every now and again. It allows children and parents to get off the sofa, get out in the fresh air, meet the neighbours and try out new play activities.”

Certain roads will be excluded from the scheme, including bus routes, highly trafficked roads or those with adjacent closures already agreed.

Residents will be expected to gather support for the temporary play street closures by door knocking, postering and leafleting.

n Visit islington.gov.uk/playstreets for more information.

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