Play street

Play streets: car-free for all. Photograph: Hackney Council

Children are set to reclaim neighbourhood roads as a result of a new council scheme.

Under the Play Streets initiative certain residential streets in Hackney will be temporarily closed to vehicles so that children can play together there without fear of danger from passing cars.

Those who live in play streets will still be able to drive to and from their homes, guided at walking pace by volunteer stewards at each end of the road, a Town Hall spokesman said.

Stoke Newington mother of three Claudia Draper approached Hackney Council about the scheme, which resulted in Oldfield Road being closed off on September 9th so that around 70 local children could play together there.

Ms Draper said: “At our annual street parties, the best thing is seeing the children running around, having fun without the fear of cars on the roads.

“Hopefully now playing out in the street won’t be a once a year treat, but a normal part of our kids’ lives, as well as being something that brings the community closer together.”

The council has confirmed residents in a further six streets have expressed an interest in joining the scheme, which allows parents to apply for Temporary Play Street Orders (TPSOs) to close their street to vehicles provided it is not considered a major road or on a bus route.

Charity London Play is backing the scheme.

Chair Melian Mansfield said: “Hackney is to be applauded for taking this initiative… We hope that other boroughs will follow suit and help make London a city where children are truly able to play freely and safely outdoors.”

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