By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter / firstname.lastname@example.org
A CAMPAIGN to allow more children and young people to play out safely on residential streets is being backed by Bristol City Council.
The green light has been given for more frequent road closures for a few hours after school by groups of neighbours and communities, without having to apply each time.
Until now, residents have been allowed to apply for three formal road closures a year for street parties or other community activities.
Instead they will be able to do one annual application as long as all the neighbours are consulted.
The aim is to encourage more street play sessions for children and young people organised by residents.
It’s based on a scheme developed by the Bristol Playing Out project, where the road becomes a temporary ‘play street’. Through traffic is diverted but residents still have car access for parking.
Residents ‘steward’ either end of the street to ensure this happens safely.
Alice Ferguson, co-founder and director of the Playing Out project, said: “There is a widespread feeling that children need to have more freedom to play outside safely, for their health and happiness.
“We are very happy to see Bristol taking a lead in this way and hope that other cities will soon follow.”
The event was celebrated at the annual Bristol Playday on College Green yesterday.
Director of Streets Alive Chris Gittins, said: “During the hundreds of street parties in Bristol every year residents have told us how amazing it is for kids to be able to play safely for a change in the street.
“Our surveys have clearly shown that the events give them courage to support play at other times in the street or elsewhere.”
Details of the new procedure and a new application form are being worked on by council officers and will be launched this autumn.
Bristol City Council cabinet member for care and health Councillor Jon Rogers, said: “This is a very significant move for a city the size of Bristol, sending out a clear signal to parents and communities that we will support them organise street play activities.
“Parents are concerned that our children and young people are living more sedentary life styles, so initiatives like this are an important way of encouraging our youngsters to play outside in a safe environment.”
For more details go to http://www.playingout.net or http://www.streetsalive.org.uk.