Do you look back fondly on days with fewer cars when children used to play outside in the street?
Do you wish that there was a way to stop the traffic just for a few hours to let the little ones kick a ball around, play hopskotch or just have fun with their neighbours?
Maybe you should consider a play street.
To help all our residents live healthier and happier lives, particularly the youngest in our borough, we've made it possible to apply to close a street for a short time to let children play.
How to apply for a play street
Play should be fun, so we've made the process as simple as we can:
Step 1 - Read the rules before you start
Step 2 - Consult your neighbours to get their support and hear their concerns
Step 3 - Submit your application to the council
Step 4 - Time to play!
A Play Street Order (PSO) is the formal permission required to close a street for the sole purpose of children’s play.
An application doesn't guarantee that permission to hold a play street will be given. Where the conditions of an order are not adhered to, the council may withdraw it.
The council must advertise details of play street closures, including the street name, the timing and the frequency. Where possible, we will aim to group applications from nearby street/roads together to reduce the cost of these advertisements. This may result in a short delay in processing your application.
The individual or organisation responsible for holding the play street is responsible for ensuring that damage isn't caused to the highway or to street furniture and will be responsible for paying for any damage that occurs. It is recommend that anyone planning to hold a play street takes out Public Liability Insurance for the duration of the planned road closure.
If appropriate, the street must be cleaned in order to return it to its condition prior to the closure. This must be done before the road is reopened.
No closure may last for more than three hours.
We must receive your application several weeks before the date of the planned event otherwise we will not be able to process it.
An Order is made entirely for the purposes of children’s play.
No activity requiring any form of license (under the Licensing Act 2003) may be undertaken when the order is in force.
Vehicular access for residents/businesses must be maintained during any closure period.
On-street parking cannot be refused or restricted other than through an existing Traffic Regulation Order.
The road(s) may only be closed on the dates and times specified within the order.
The event must be supervised by two adults at all times.
Organisers of the event must themselves provide, erect and dismantle barriers and signs which clearly show that the road has been closed. All barriers should be clearly visible to approaching motorists and ensure two stewards are at each road closure point at all times.
Any barriers erected during the closures must be removed immediately if required for access for emergency services or other residents.
To be considered for a Play Street closure, the road or street must:
- Not include a commercial establishment;
- Not be on a bus route or trunk route;
- Not have a high volume of traffic;
- Not have scaffolding, construction, tripping hazards, or other safety concerns present like the placement of any other structure on the highway during its use;
- Not be in close proximity to a park that could accommodate the activities being requested;
- Not adjacent to a hospital.
Consult your neighbours
Play streets can be great fun but it's important that the people who live and work in your area are in support of any proposals. Before submitting an application, we ask that you consult those living or operating a business on the street you wish to close or on streets that rely on it for access. We've produced a template to help you do this.
You will need to keep a record of all the addresses you have delivered the form to because we will ask for these when you apply. We'll also need the names and addresses of the people in support of your application as well as details of any serious objections.
Now it's time to apply
The Liveable Streets programme aims to improve the look and feel of public spaces in neighbourhoods across the borough and make it easier, safer, and more convenient to get around by foot, bike and public transport.
Find out on the Liveable Streets page.
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has also committed to delivering 50 School Streets by 2022. We want to create areas where children can safely walk or wheel to and from school.
Find out more on the School Streets page.