Street play is coming to South Glos
RESIDENTS who want their children to experience the thrill of playing in their street can apply to take part in new pilot Play Street initiative - and this time there are no charges involved.
South Gloucestershire Council first looked at introducing the Playing Out-style scheme back in 2014 but wanted to charge residents the cost of closing the road, which at the time was a whopping £140.
The fee put off many parents and they urged the council to drop the charge, like neighbouring Bristol City Council does.
The first event planned for the district had to be cancelled when families looking forward to closing Bromley Heath Avenue in Downend had hoped the council would waive the fee.
But the residents' application was withdrawn after they were told they would have to cough up the £140.
Councillors went back to the drawing board and discussed the issue again. Now, four years later, the scheme is being re-launched in South Gloucestershire and applications are welcomed from residents - although they only have until August 13 to submit forms.
Play Street schemes enable residents to apply for and manage a temporary road closure so children can play safely The aim is to make neighbourhoods more child friendly, bring people together and encourage physical activity.
The initiative has been welcomed by health expert Helene Gibson who lives in Downend. Helene, a clinical lead in public health nursing, said the fees had previously made the scheme "prohibitive".
"It's a fantastic opportunity for communities for children to experience free play in the way we used to as children.
"The previous fees had put people off as it was a considerable amount of money and people would have had to fundraise to fund it. It was prohibitively expensive and stopped people from doing it. Hopefully people will take advantage of it but it's quite a tight time-frame for people to get in their applications, which is the only thing which is a bit worrying.
"From my public health background, anything which encourages children and families to be active can only be positive."
Any South Gloucestershire resident interested in holding a Play Street event in their neighbourhood can apply by visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/playstreets
Residents of suitable streets are invited to submit applications by August 13, 2018 to hold Play Street sessions during the period of September 10 and December 31, 2018.
The Play Street scheme is suitable for residential streets with low amounts of traffic such as cul-de-sacs and no through roads, minor roads serving cul-de-sacs and hamlets. Unsuitable streets include those on a bus route or any with scheduled road works.
The similar scheme in Bristol called Playing Out has proved popular with residents saying it has helped bring communities closer together.
Cabinet member for public health, Councillor Erica Williams, said: "Residents have said they would like to see street play schemes come to the area so we are delighted to be able to launch this pilot, with funding from South Glos Council’s public health department.
"Research has found that street play schemes such as this can help reduce social isolation and also lessen health inequalities across the population. They also provide a really fun way for people to meet their neighbours whilst their children get some exercise, and hopefully help to develop stronger communities."
How to apply:
South Gloucestershire residents who would like to hold a Play Street can make an application to the council for a Temporary Play Street Order (TPSO). For this pilot scheme, applications need to be received by August 13, 2018. Play Street sessions can be held on agreed dates and times:
• for up to two hours
• no more than once a week
• outside of school time and in daylight hours
• between September 10 and December 31, 2018.
Applicants will also be required to consult (using approved template letters) with residents and local businesses prior to application.
To apply visit www.southglos.gov.uk/playstreets. For more info on ‘Playing Out’ visit www.playingout.net