What is a Play Street?
Play Streets is the name given to streets that are closed off to through traffic, for a few hours, usually during the evening or at the weekend, to give local children an area to play in.
These are organised and run by local residents with Salford City Council assisting with the road closure, through a temporary traffic restriction order and supplying signage to let drivers know that the road is closed.
The first Play Streets were organised by a local group of residents in Bristol and they now offer lots of helpful information on how to organise Play Streets on their Playing Out website.
Before applying for a Play Street
Anyone can apply for a Play Street to happen in their street but before you apply here are a few things that you will need to consider:
- Is my road suitable for a Play Street? Most cul-de-sacs are likely to be suitable for a Play Street, as they are already a no through route for traffic. If you don’t live on a cul-de-sac the street can still be considered, but it will need to be:
- Low volumes of traffic
- Have a suitable alternative route for vehicles during the time the Play Street is running
- Thought should be given to where you want the Play Street to happen. If you live on a long road, or a road with lots of junctions it is unlikely that this would be suitable location for a Play Street. Play Streets should be of a suitable size and length for the street, to enable children to play, but not unnecessarily block extensive sections of the road. A narrow road that is lined with parked cars may be unsuitable as there is not very much road space for children to play on. You may be able to encourage residents to park in an alternative location while the Play Street is running.
- Is there enough demand for a Play Street? If you are the only family living on the street it is unlikely to happen. We would recommend that before applying for a Play Street you gauge the opinion of your neighbours to see how many children will benefit from the Play Street.
- When do you want to hold the Play Street and how often? A Play Street is usually held on a weekend day or on a bank holiday, when children will be able to most benefit from the closure. It is usually held for three to four hours at a time. It is also possible to hold them in the evening, but consideration of the traffic volumes, and residents returning home from work/school will need to be considered.
- Would my neighbours object to the road being closed? You will need to speak to all the neighbours who will be affected by the Play Street before applying to make sure that they have no objections, or that their concerns can be overcome. While some people may be against the road closure, we would recommend that you get at least 60% of the street in agreement of the road closure before applying. This will help reduce any conflict on the day and help publicise the event. An example consultation letter is at the end of this page.
- Who is going to manage the Play Street? If the Play Street is approved, it will need managed by named stewards who are responsible for closing the road for the duration of the Play Street and explaining the road closure to anyone who is using the road. We would suggest that a minimum of two stewards per event, depending on the number of closures the Play Street requires. The stewards will need to stand by the road closure signs for the duration of the Play Street and help manage any questions with regards to the Play Street.
- While we cannot eliminate all the risks we can try to reduce and manage the risks. Carry out a walk though of the Play Street to identify any potential things that could cause a hazard. For example:
- The biggest risk is from motorists, how many roads will you need to close off?
- How much traffic is there usually on the road?
- Is there room for cars to be parked off the road, or can they park outside of the Play Street area?
- How many stewards will you need?
- Are there any other things on or off the road that may affect the Play Street?
- Do I need to obtain public liability insurance (PLI) for the Play Street? The council will not insist that the organiser obtain PLI for the event, but it is up to the organiser to manage the event. While it is unlikely that any problems will occur during the event, the organiser may be held responsible if any accidents do occur. In any respect the organiser will be required to sign a waiver exempting the council from any blame in the potentiality of an accident.
Applying for the Play Street
Apply for the Play Street using our online form below. Here you will find the application form and other relevant information. You will need to supply the following information:
- Name and contact details of organiser of the Play Street
- Road to be used for the Play Street
- Where the Play Street is to start end, for example 12 to 40 The Street/junction of The Street and The Road
- Dates and times that you want to organise the Play Street on
- Confirmation that you have at least 60% of residents in agreement with the road closure
- Any potential risks that have been identified that will need to be managed during the road closure, with a completed risk assessment (a template is available at the end of this page)
Play Street application form
Once the application has been received by the council this will be assessed and you may be contacted to clarify any details, or discuss the application if we feel it may be unsuitable.
Any application will be processed as quickly as possible, but it is recommended that you give as much notice as possible before the first event is due to take place, in order for the necessary checks to be carried out and the relevant highway traffic orders to be raised.
Once the application has been assed you will be notified of the outcome. The council will apply for the necessary road traffic order to legally close the street. This will take a minimum of six weeks for the order to be processed.
Once the Play Street has been agreed, you will need to notify the neighbours and publicise the event. This can be done electronically for example through Facebook or Twitter, but we also recommend that you send a letter to all residents affected to notify them of the event. An example letter can be found at the end of this page.
One the day
Before the road is closed, the risk assessment should be reviewed to make sure that there are no additional risks that were not previously assessed need to be considered. We would recommend that any litter, including glass is picked up to avoid any incidents.
Road closure signage and Hi-viz vests will be delivered to the organiser before the event, who must be responsible for setting them up and storing them until they are collected or the next event.
A fee may be charged for lost or damaged equipment.
A stewards’ briefing should be carried out with an agreement on how you are going to handle any drivers who want to drive down the road during the event.
Some basic items that always work well are chalk, skipping ropes, hula hoops and soft balls, but it’s always best to let the children take the lead and encourage them to bring out what they want to play with.
Take lots of pictures and document how successful the event was and any problems you encountered on the day.
If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.