Come out to play in Newham

​​Last night (4 September) Newham Council gave the green light to a £100,000 a year project to encourage residents to create traffic free “Play Streets” in the road outside their homes.​

The council will support parents, guardians and neighbours to create “Play Streets”, which can be closed to traffic for up to four hours during daylight, allowing children to enjoy supervised play in the public space closest to their homes.

Councillor Rachel Tripp, Cabinet member for the environment said: “Children playing outside their homes used to be at the heart of street life in the East End, before cars and traffic came to dominate the environment. Our “Play Streets” scheme aims to redress the balance, get children active and enjoying a life beyond computer screens, and bring people who share a street together as a community.”

“Play Streets” have already taken place in the borough under rules designed for street parties. However last night cabinet agreed to create a new application process, which allows for far more play street dates to be arranged (up to 24 per year), compared to the two per year allowed under street party rules.

Later this month on September 22 to mark World Car Free Day - a number of Newham streets have applied and been granted permission to host “Play Streets” under the old street party application process. They are:
  • Sidney Road - Forest Gate 
  • Tylney Road - Forest Gate 
  • Cecil Road - Plaistow 
  • Mafeking Road - Canning Town
The ambition, says Councillor  Rachel Tripp, is to see a network of “Play Streets” established right across the borough.  The council will work closely with the campaign group London Play to make the most of the “Play Streets” scheme.

Fiona Sutherland of Play London said: “We are delighted to see Newham offering this opportunity to its residents. In a borough with less green space than most, it is important that the communal spaces which are our streets take on an even greater role in providing opportunities for residents to get out, get active and make new friends on their doorstep.”

Councillor Susan Masters, Cabinet member for health said: “Play streets allow both children and adults to get active where they live, bringing improvements in physical and mental health that come from feeling fitter and more connected to your community.”

The first phase of the new scheme will see up to 15 communities create a “Play Street” and, although not all streets will be suitable, the council will work with neighbourhoods to find nearby alternatives.

Once the council agrees a “Play Street”, the traffic order will be created to allow the road to be closed to traffic up to twice every month, during daylight hours for up to four hours.

“Play Streets”, will be resident-led and people who want to run one will need to show they have sought and secured the support of a majority of their neighbours. They will also need to appoint volunteer traffic marshals and play supervisors to make sure the events run safely.

The council will arrange basic training for volunteers, issue high-visibility clothing,  and provide traffic cones and road closed signs as required.

Residents wishing to create a “Play Streets” will be supported through the process by their Community Neighbourhood teams.

Councillor Rachel Tripp said: “Streets are the public spaces that are nearest to our homes and “Play Streets” transform the road into places for everyone not just for cars.

“Running a “Play Street” will encourage neighbours to get together and enjoy the space outside their homes in safety and comfort.

“Our “Play Streets” scheme is just the first of a programme of projects to improve our streets to make Newham a more pleasant, healthy, safe and enjoyable place to be.”

Published: 05 Sep 2018