Salford set to see the return of ‘play streets’ after 90 years

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Salford is set to see ‘play streets’ reintroduced to the borough once again 90 years after it pioneered the scheme in England.

The launch of the pilot scheme was confirmed by Salford City Council during a council meeting yesterday.

As part of the project, streets in the borough of Salford will be shut for four hours a day to allow children to safely play out and residents of the streets will be in charge of the closures with help from the council. The streets will be put forward by the residents themselves and will need at least 60% of the neighbourhood to be in favour of creating a ‘Play Street’.

The idea behind the scheme is that residents will be able to close off their street to vehicles and allow children to play safely, without the risk of oncoming traffic.

Those affected by the street closures will be consulted and Salford City Council is planning on releasing a consultation in due course, with guidance and risk assessment forms for residents who put themselves forward as organisers.

Applications for Play Streets will only be considered on roads managed by the council, cul-de-sacs, through-route roads with low traffic numbers, and in areas with suitable alternatives for drivers.

Through traffic will be diverted, and residents who live on the streets will not have to move their cars.

They will be free to enter or leave the street, however, will be asked to drive at ‘walking speed’ and will be escorted by a volunteer.

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This modern re-invention of the scheme is hoping to encourage young Salfordians to be more active, and to enable stronger neighbourhood bonds through the increase of friendships among children and adults.

The ‘Play Street’ project was first introduced in Salford back in the 1930s.

It was the first place in the country to introduce a play street, and came after then Salford Chief Constable, Major Cedric Valentine Godfrey, brought the idea to the city upon seeing how the concept worked in the tightly-packed districts of The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan in New York.

Derek Antrobus – Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development at Salford City Council – said: “Salford, historically has been a leader in the creation of play streets.

“This is the modern version of it.

“It allows residents to close off their street for events, regular play activities, but it was a convoluted experience for people to go to and what we’ve done is to try to cut through all the red tape and make it easier for communities to create safe spaces for their children and families.

“It’s a response to what the communities were demanding and we’ve managed to address it in a very sensible way.”

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