What Play Streets are

A Play Street is an event where a road is closed off to traffic for a few hours on a regular basis. This is so that children can have a safe space to play freely. 

Play Streets are organised, managed and run by local communities themselves. The Council offers advice and organises the closure of the road to traffic.

Play Streets:

  • give children more opportunities to play in a safe space close to their homes. 
  • provide a chance for residents to come together and for everyone to get to know their neighbours. 
  • help children to be physically active and healthier, learn about  their street and neighbourhood and have fun together.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Play Street Video

On Clean Air Day in June 2019 Great Ormond Street Hospital held a play street event. Watch their inspiring video:

 

How Play Streets work

Application

To set up a Play Street you need to apply to the Council giving details of the road (or portion of road) to be closed and how often you would like it to be closed.

The Council assesses the application and advertises the proposed Play Street in the press. 

Approval

If your application is successful, we will write to inform you that your Play Street can go ahead.
Once approved, you can run your Play Street all year round.

Volunteers

You need to arrange adult supervision of the Play Street at all times during the Play Street event .
You may want to identify volunteers to do this this when you discuss setting up a Play Street with your community.

Street signs

Camden Council provides road closure signs you can use on each of the Play Street days, and high visibility vests for volunteers.

Residents are responsible for storing the signs and setting them up on the day.

Participation

Play Streets are for local residents and their children to enjoy, but you are free to invite children from neighbouring streets.
Residents who apply are totally responsible for the event and liable for any issues arising.

Setting up a Play Street

Below are the key steps in setting up a Play Street. We suggest setting aside some time before applying to prepare everything.

Identify a Play Street organiser

A key person or group will need to lead on submitting the application.

Identify where and when you want to set up a Play Street

If it is a long road we recommend using a section between two junctions.
Play Streets are a recurring event, so agree a regular day/time. Once a Play Street is approved we cannot change the day and time requested.

Gather local support for the Play Street

Let your neighbours know about the proposed Play Street by downloading, filling in and sending out the Information Letter template on the 'How to apply' page. 

Download and complete the Signature Form on the 'How to apply' page. 

Identify volunteers, if possible.

Application to the Council

Download and complete the application form. The application form and how to complete and submit it can be found on the 'How to apply' page.

How to apply

You can apply for a Play Street online or download the application form and send it by post to:

Play Streets, Transport Strategy, Supporting Communities, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE.

The form covers:

Applicant(s)’ details - provide name and contact details for applicant(s)

Play Streets Application form (PDF) 

Road closure details - specify in this section which road (or section of road) you want to close and the proposed day and time.

Barriers / signs - details of who will receive and store the road closure signage.

Information letter - to be distributed to residents to let them know about the Play Street and to give them an opportunity to express their views. Do this consultation before you submit your application.

Information letter (PDF)

Signature form - to get signatures and details of everyone who supports or objects to the idea of a Play Street. Add this signed form to your application when you submit.

Signature form (PDF) 

Please note: there is no automatic approval of a Play Street application. Officers may suggest alternative streets or days other than the ones proposed. The Council also has to advertise them in the press.
 

More information

Vehicle access while the road is a Play Street


While a local street is officially closed to through traffic, local people living on the street still have access and parking is not suspended. Parents/residents acting as stewards escort drivers wanting to come in to park or leave at a very slow walking pace. See the 'Guidance notes for drivers using a Play Street' for more details about this.

Guidance notes for drivers using a Play Street (PDF)

Consulting your neighbours before applying for a Play Street

Local consultation is a legal requirement for any road closure. The Council will also advertise the consultation in the press for statutory consultees such as the police and emergency services. Both are a necessary part of the Traffic Management Order to close the road. You should aim to get signatures from at least 70% of households on the street, both supporters and objectors. 

Costs

Setting up a Play street won't cost you anything. We cover the cost of the road closure Traffic Order and signage. We also provide high visibility vests to be worn on the day by volunteers and a play kit bag.

Changing the day and time

The road(s) may only be closed for a Play Street on the dates and times specified within the Traffic Order. Changing the day and time of a Play Street will require a new replacement Traffic Order. This would result in an additional cost of £3,000 which would have to be covered by residents.

Ideally you will choose a regular day to hold your Play Street e.g. ‘the first Sunday of the month between 2-5pm’. However if your Traffic Order allows for flexibility e.g. ‘one Sunday a month between 2-5pm’, then you should aim to designate a regular day when you will hold your Play Street. In exceptional circumstances, you can change the date and take this flexible approach e.g. if the date falls on Christmas day. In this instance we would need at no less than 4 weeks written notice of the proposed date/time by contacting playstreets@camden.gov.uk

There is no obligation to hold your Play Street if you do not wish to, for example if you cannot staff the closure or if the weather is very bad.

Other schemes to help children use our streets

If you are interested in setting up a Play Street around a school, then you may be interested in the Healthy School Streets initiative. Healthy School Streets aims to make the streets outside schools safer at the start and end of the school day and to discourage driving to school. We do this by closing the street to traffic during these times. 

Contact us

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or want to discuss setting up a Play Street.