Children in Hackney are reclaiming the streets, thanks to a groundbreaking scheme enabling residents to close residential streets for a few hours to through traffic, turning them into play streets.
There are 40 play streets in Hackney, including three schools and a children's centre, which host termly sessions.
Apply for a play street order
A play street order allows you to close your street for up three hours per week or month. Please note that main roads or those on a bus route cannot be closed.
Consult with neighbours before applying
It's important that you consult with people living in your street before completing an application form.
You must also provide evidence of residents' support with your application using our support petition template [doc, 30.5KB].
How to consult and build support:
- talk to people you know in your street to gauge interest and to get help and support
- send a letter to all residents to introduce the idea and invite them to an informal residents meeting. This is an opportunity to express concerns, ask questions and discuss practicalities
- another approach is to do a physical door knock, to introduce the idea personally
The application pack includes a template letter you need to send to all neighbours, giving them official notification of the application.
If your application is approved, we will provide you with road closed signs (and where needed, road ahead closed signs) to put up on the day.
Stewarding the closures
During play streets sessions the street won't be closed completely; people living on the street can still drive to and from their homes at 5mph. You will need to recruit friends or neighbours to help on the day; there has to be someone at each end of the street to warn cars and escort them in or out once children have been cleared from the road.
We are funding Hackney Play Association to provide free support for residents and schools on the practicalities of organising play streets. They offer workshops, phone / email support, photocopying and provide free safety kit for stewards. They can meet you to help you get started and attend residents meetings.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or tel 07368 239 387. You can also join the Hackney Playing Out and Hackney Play Streets Facebook groups or follow @PlayHackney on Twitter.
Benefits of play streets
See Playing Out for lots of information about street play and why playing in streets can be good for children. Play streets:
- allow children to play near home
- give children the space to play energetically
- increase sense of community by bringing neighbours together
Play streets in Hackney
Play streets evaluation report
Our Play Streets have reached more than 1,600 children and led to thousands of hours of active play, a report by children's play expert Tim Gill shows.