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Lambeth streets to be transformed into safe kids’ playgrounds

One of London’s first projects to close selected roads to through traffic and turn them into Play Streets, is about to start in Lambeth.

Guernsey Grove in Herne Hill and Hexham Road in West Norwood will be the first two streets to hold play street days, with more to follow in the New Year.

The scheme allows residents to close their streets for up to three-hours a week so their kids can play in a traffic free environment – usually on a weekend afternoon.

Cllr Imogen Walker, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “West Norwood residents first suggested the idea to the council. I agree that it is a wonderful idea and am delighted that play streets are coming to Lambeth.”

Similar schemes are already running in New York, Hackney and Bristol where they have proved to be a big success.

Children in London have been playing on the streets for centuries but the Victorians tried to end the tradition, and in the early 20th century increasing traffic made the streets ever more dangerous.

Looking to the USA for inspiration, Play Streets were passed into English law in 1938 and gave councils the power to close streets for children to play out on between 8am and sunset.

By the 1950s there were 700 Play Streets in England and Wales – but by the 1980s they were all but forgotten. The scheme is now being revived with Lambeth council working with residents to help them use their streets in the way they think is best.

The Play Streets scheme part of Lambeth Council’s Cleaner and Greener Streets campaign which highlights everything we’re doing to make the borough a beautiful place sustainable place for everyone to enjoy.

 

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