Stoke Newington: Hackney Launches first street play in London

 

Children of Oldfield Road reclaimed their street last Sunday

A play scheme that first took root in Bristol, has recently been copied in Stoke Newington. Children in Hackney are set to reclaim the streets, thanks to a groundbreaking scheme that will close selected streets to through traffic, turning them into “play streets”.

Hackney has become the first borough in London to introduce Temporary Play Street Orders (TPSOs), which allow parents to apply to the council to close their street for a few hours per week or month.

Stoke Newington resident and mum of three Claudia Draper, approached Hackney Council about launching the scheme. She said: “It’s brilliant that councillors have listened to residents and had the foresight to do this. At our annual street parties, the best thing is seeing the children running around, having fun without the fear of cars on the roads.

“Hopefully now playing out in the street won’t be a once a year treat, but a normal part of our kids’ lives, as well as being something that brings the community closer together. Certainly our road has become a much friendlier place since we started having street parties, and that has huge benefits for everyone, not just the kids.”

Oldfield Road, in Stoke Newington, closed for the first time on Sunday afternoon (9 September).  Around 70 children from Oldfield Road and surrounding streets played together, while older residents enjoyed meeting and chatting to neighbours.

Residents in another six streets have already expressed an interest in joining the scheme.

Those who live in play streets can still drive to and from their homes, and will be guided at walking pace by volunteer stewards stationed at each end of the street.

The move is backed by London Play. Chair Melian Mansfield said: “Hackney is to be applauded for taking this initiative which will be seen to benefit children and their communities in many different ways. We hope that other boroughs will follow suit and help make London a city where children are truly able to play freely and safely outdoors.”

To find out more about the Play Streets scheme contact gavin.best@hackney.gov.uk or 020 8356 3023.

About Remi Makinde

Remi Makinde Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday, who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned happy to put an unconventional and risky past behind her. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell & Darcy a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix) and runs a London based pet sitting business. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.

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