There is a national movement of residents closing their streets to through-traffic, for short periods, so children can play out safely. At the last count, 63 councils had a play street policy and almost 1,000 street communities – 30,000 children – had “played out” - all led by residents. But in Cambridgeshire there have been less than a handful of Playing Out events.
Why do we want to Play Out?
We want to create more connected communities and safer streets. And we want to encourage children to have healthier lifestyles with physical play and make small steps to independence.
The Minister of State for Transport, the Children's Commissioner for England and British Cycling, all support this work. Recently the Minister of State for Transport sent an official letter to all English Highway Authorities saying, "play streets offer wonderful opportunities not merely for children, but for families and communities."
Playing Out fits with so many of the County Council's own strategies including the Community Resilience Strategy; Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy for Children and Young People and Think Communities Strategy.
What is stopping Cambridgeshire residents from organising Playing Out events?
The application form for the Highways Department is discouraging residents from applying for temporary road closures for Playing Out events and Street Parties. Other councils such as Adur and Worthing council and the London Borough of Brent take a more positive approach to making it easy for residents to apply.
With this spirit in mind, we want the following changes made to the application form so more residents feel confident in applying. These are: