Councillors last night (18 October) approved plans at Barnet’s monthly Cabinet meeting to allow ‘Play Streets’ in the borough, following a successful six-month pilot scheme in East and North Finchley which ran until August this year.
Play Streets are a resident-led initiative that involves short road closures to create a safe space where children can play freely together right on their doorsteps. Once applications are approved, they will initially run for up to two hours a month per street.
Councillor Alan Schneiderman, Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change, said:
“It’s great that we have been able to bring play streets to Barnet. Play streets allow children to play freely, and while we know Barnet is a very green borough there are areas where parks and green spaces are harder to access.
“By giving children, young people, and families an opportunity to play right in front of their homes, it creates an opportunity for them to meet and make friends with people on their street helping foster a stronger sense of community.
“As well as enabling play, physical activity, leisure, and sport opportunities at a neighbourhood level, Play Streets can also help with improving air quality and increasing active travel.”
Earlier this year, Barnet launched the six-month pilot play street scheme in two locations – Leopold Road, East Finchley, and Lodge Lane, North Finchley, with residents giving overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Barnet resident Kathy, of Leopold Road in East Finchley, said:
“We were pleased to be part of the Play Street trial which brought our community together. This is an exciting opportunity for other locations to arrange a regular road closure for children to play and adults to meet.”
The Council will assess all applications to ensure suitability prior to approval and residents will also be able to provide any objections in advance.
A Play Street will not be suitable for all streets – bus routes, distributor or primary roads, roads which serve industrial or commercial premises, or roads which have a junction inside the proposed closure, for example. The Council will assess all applications to ensure suitability prior to approval.
Further information on how to apply for a Play Street will be released in the coming weeks.