'Play street' orders: could they work in North Laine?

Photo:A North Laine street party in 2011

A North Laine street party in 2011

Photo by Henry Bruce

More regular than a street party

By Sara Bragg, North Laine resident

Over the summer [2012] I have been talking to neighbours and to our ward councillors about ‘play street’ orders. I was inspired by reading about a similar initiative in Bristol. See for example:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jun/23/reclaiming-the-streets-for-kids

Streets become more sociable spaces

The idea of ‘play street’ orders is that roads are closed for a couple of hours once a week to make them into more sociable spaces.  Children can play outside, neighbours can sit and talk to each other, and so on, weather permitting. Volunteer stewards help keep an eye on children and organise access if it is needed.

Car owners not asked to move their cars

As with organising a street party, a majority of residents must agree to the proposal. However, unlike a street party, car owners are not asked to park their cars elsewhere, and the closure is not total, meaning that access for residents and businesses is maintained.  Traffic is still allowed through, although vehicles are asked to drive slowly and are escorted by stewards to ensure safety.

It would be less weather dependent

I seized on the idea because it felt like a logical progression from the successful street parties we’ve been organising once a year, offering something more regular and therefore less weather dependent.  Most of the neighbours I have talked to so far have been supportive, but I am currently awaiting further advice from council officials to ensure we consult properly with everyone and are aware of what we might be taking on.

Interested to get involved?

If you might be interested in exploring a similar scheme for your own street, want to get involved in ours, or have further concerns or questions, you can contact me (parentsnetwork@nlcaonline.org.uk), Christina Liassides and the Network Co-ordination team (networkco-ordination@brighton-hove.gov.uk), or the St Peter's & North Laine ward councillors. (Please be aware that the Network Co-ordination team is a very tiny one, and so it will take time to look at each application.)


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 218, September/October 2012]

This page was added on 28/10/2012.

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