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Haringey In Focus: Play Streets scheme rolled out across Haringey

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:03 03 January 2014

Kids could soon be playing in the streets - safely.

Kids could soon be playing in the streets - safely.

Archant

Children will soon be reclaiming their roads thanks to a group of Haringey neighbours who decided they wanted to capture some of the excitement of street parties on a regular basis.

How to get involved with Play Streets

Play Streets schemes will be run by local residents with Haringey Council responsible for helping to close roads where applicable.

Applications for Play Streets will be free to make and there will be no fee for closing roads if a scheme is approved.

Residents making Play Streets applications will need to show that they have consulted with neighbours and secured the backing of most people in their street.

While every effort will be made to support Play Streets applications for road closures, there are certain roads where closures would not be appropriate. These include certain classified roads, principal routes, bus routes and Transport for London red routes and streets that straddle more than one borough.

Full details of the application process and excluded roads will be available shortly at www.haringey.gov.uk/roadsandstreets.

Residents can learn more about the scheme from others who have taken part by joining the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/553352248089532, or visit http://clarendonplaystreet.wordpress.com/

Haringey Play Streets gives parents – and adults who don’t have children – the ability to shut their roads off from traffic and transform them into playgrounds for the day.

It wouldn’t have happened were it not for a couple of people living in Avondale Road, Harringay, who spotted a story about parents in Bristol who had done just that in 2012.

“It inspired us, but we didn’t do anything about it straight away,” explained father-of-two Paul Wheeler.

Unbeknown to them, however, Sam Raphael – who lived in adjoining Clarendon Road – had also thought it was a good idea, so he put the wheels in motion.

“He contacted our councillors, organised a meeting and spoke to us,” said Mr Wheeler. “A group of us went round to his house in October of last year.”

It seems there was “overwhelming support” for the scheme from residents and the council.

But, being a new idea, it took a while for everything to be put in place. However, when the two streets finally got the go-ahead in the summer, it was all worth it.

Mr Wheeler said: “It is wonderful to see the kids having fun in the road. It’s great seeing them discover the different things you can do in the street, first with their bikes, and then water fights in the summer and now, at Christmas, you get remote control cars.”

It is not just about the little ones, he added.

“It is primarily about the children, but not exclusively so. What’s great is when you see two stewards at the end of the road and they are chatting away like they have known each other for years.

“But they have only just met – despite living next door to each other for 10 years. That happens pretty much every time.”

The scheme – which sees Avondale and Clarendon roads closed off for Play Streets once a month – has proved such a success that the council has decided to throw its support fully behind it.

At this month’s meeting of Haringey’s cabinet, members agreed to make Play Streets a borough-wide project.

Residents anywhere in the borough will be able to team up to apply free for temporary road closures to allow them to turn streets into community spaces.

Council leader Claire Kober said: “Play Streets is a brilliant way of bringing communities together.

‘‘We’re delighted to offer the borough’s children the chance to transform their roads and make more of their neighbourhoods.

“It’s been fantastic to see the popularity of the pilot scheme and I look forward to watching Play Streets catch on across the borough throughout 2014.”

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