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Closing a road for a play street or street party event

Apply for a temporary road closure for community events.

There are lots of benefits to having a play street on your road, they include:

  • allowing children to play close to home
  • giving children the space to play safely
  • increasing a sense of community by bringing neighbours together
  • encouraging more activities to take place in the local area.

What is a play street or street party event? 

Photo of a school play street

A play street or street party is a community or school-led initiative to close a road to traffic for a few hours either as a one-off event or a regular activity.

The road is transformed into a traffic-free space where residents of all ages can socialise safely within the current Government COVID-19 guidelines. 

How do we support play streets and street parties?

A play street or street party is a community or school-led initiative to close a road to traffic for a few hours either as a one-off event or a regular activity.

The road is transformed into a traffic-free space where residents of all ages can socialise safely within the current Government COVID guidelines. 

What is involved

Local parents and/or residents volunteer to plan and manage the closure from start to finish.

Volunteers must manage:

  • putting the proposal together and seeking advice from the Council on whether the application is likely to be acceptable

  • consulting with residents on the street before applying, to understand the level of interest and support

  • submitting the formal application at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the event. Late applications may be considered, at the discretion of council officers.

  • ensuring that the conditions of the application are adhered to such as organising a risk assessment and considering public liability insurance. Prior to the day of the event, you should also ensure that the event is still able to be run in compliance with current COVID-19 guidelines.

  • managing the event on the day, setting up at the start using physical barriers to close the road and marshalling traffic at the closure points.

  • cleaning up at the end of the event and reopening the road to traffic

  • The road will be closed to traffic for the times granted on the street notice.  Ideally the area should be kept as car-free as possible. If a resident needs to drive to and from their home, a volunteer must walk ahead of the moving vehicle to guide them slowly through the street.

Safety

The extents of each event are very clearly marked out with road cones and volunteer marshals to ensure drivers are aware of the closure.

The events are organised and managed by the parents at the school or by residents who live on the road. It is important that parents supervise their own children throughout the event. Neighbours will get the chance to know each other better and it becomes easier to spot strangers and monitor their behaviour.

Regular opportunities to organise a play street

We offer the following opportunities to run play streets or street parties, with the same application process and guidance notes applying to each:

  1. School Play Street (every summer): A school play street is a road closure for two to three hours at the end of the school day on a school road. The aim is to give children and parents an opportunity to reclaim the school street to stay and play with their friends in a safe environment. Chalk, games, and activities may be offered for children to use in the street. The school can choose the exact dates to suit their timetables.
  2. Special national events such as Car Free Day, Clean Air Day- for one off events. For example, London Car Free Day is an annual event normally taking place in September. It is a free event where Londoners are encouraged to leave their car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport. Communities and schools are also invited to run street parties on their road.
  3. One off play streets or street parties. An opportunity for a community to come together to socialise on an ad hoc basis.
  4. Regular play streets (monthly closures throughout the year): Some play streets started as a one off event, but have now become a regular activity. There are some local groups that hold a play street monthly. Whilst we support this initiative, regular play streets require a much higher level of commitment from volunteers. However, once the initial paperwork has been completed it is far easier to make them regular events, with more neighbours becoming interested and supporting you to manage the workload.

How to apply to close a road for a play street

You can find more information about applying to close a street in the guidance notes section of the application form. Applications should be received at least 6 weeks before the date of the event.

Find out more

If you are interested in participating in any of the above initiatives and have read through the guidance notes, email dave.wheeler@lewisham.gov.uk or Activetravel@lewisham.gov.uk.

You can also follow us on Twitter and join the conversation by using #carfreesummer #Lewishamplaystreets.