Street play

What is Street Play?

Street play is a new initiative in Elmbridge, part of the Play Strategy, 2021-2026. It is supported by Play England and follows the Playing Out model that encourages children to play out freely and safely in their streets.

The aim is to encourage children to play actively and independently near their home; contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

Street Play sessions take place during temporary road closures organised by local residents, with the agreement of their neighbours. Everyone is welcome and it's a great way to get to know one another.

How Street Play works

  • Street Play can be after school or at the weekend, for up to 3 hours.
  • It is led by neighbours, for neighbours, with volunteer stewards at each road closure point to redirect traffic and escort residents' cars in and out safely.
  • Children bring their own toys (skipping ropes, scooters, hoops, chalks etc).
  • Play is free and unstructured.
  • Parents are responsible for their own children, but it is an opportunity for them to meet other parents and neighbours.
  • There is no fee for road closure, however there may be some cost to photocopy or print flyers.
  • Notification of a Street Play road closure is made by putting up notices in the weeks prior to the event.

Organising a Street Play session

  1. Talk to your neighbours - explain your plans, discuss any concerns they may have.
  2. Send a letter/flyer to all street residents to introduce the idea or invite them to an informal meeting. This will give them the opportunity to express concerns, ask questions and discuss practicalities. It will also help you to find out if they can help with the event and support you. Invite street residents to fill in the Street Play survey form to give their approval for the event.
  3. You will need the approval of the majority of residents when you apply for the road closure; you can gather their feedback by using our residents survey form.
  4. When you have the agreement of your neighbours, consider the date you would like and apply for a temporary road closure (see below).

Things to consider when applying for a road closure

  • Carefully read the Terms and conditions of a road closure for Street Play.
  • The person completing the form will be the named representative who will need to be contactable at all times immediately before, during an after the session. They might be contacted by Elmbridge Borough Council, Surrey County Council or the Police if necessary.
  • Application must be made at least 8 weeks before the event. Please note: main roads, or those on a bus route, cannot be closed.
  • Consider the implications of the road closure for emergency service access, taxi operators and Highways (Surrey County Council) and others who may be inconvenienced by it.
  • Complete a risk assessment for the Street Play session (more information in terms and conditions).
  • Have a map ready of where you wish the closure to be. You will need to email it to shout@elmbridge.gov.uk as soon as you have sent in your application.
  • Please consider taking up a public liability insurance.
  • Application for road closure is free but you will be responsible for other costs involved (photocopying or printing leaflets and notices).

The Council is permitted to make a road closure under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 only where roads are likely to be crowded or obstructed during an event on or near a highway.  The Council reserves the right to refuse an application if:

  • You are unable to satisfy the Council that the event falls within the Act.
  • If there are objections which the Council considers valid and cannot be resolved.
  • If the council is not satisfied with any arrangements made and/or if you have not complied with the guidance.

Before, during and after the event

  1. Once you receive the council's approval for your application, you will need to recruit stewards and other volunteers to help you organise the session.
  2. Inform everyone in your road about the Street Play session: date, time and what to expect. It's a good idea to print some flyers to post through everyone's door.
  3. Photocopy the road closure notices on waterproof paper and display them in the street to ensure everyone is informed of the session.
  4. On Street Play day, ensure that manned barriers and signage are in place.
  5. Meet up with your stewards and volunteers 15-30 minutes before the start time of the Street Play session to outline what needs to be done before, during and after the session (putting up signs and traffic cones), dealing with cars, managing the session, clearing up and re-opening the road after the event.
  6. After the event, all signs must be taken down, cones removed and rubbish cleared, returning the road to its former condition. 

Further information

The Playing Out website has lots of information and a useful stuff page with helpful downloads to assist and inspire you when setting up your Street Play session, including example risk assessments, posters and a guidance manual. 

You can borrow a Street Play pack from the Play Development Team, subject to availability, for a £100 cheque deposit, which includes 'Road closed' signs, traffic cones and high visibility vest for stewards by emailing shout@elmbridge.gov.uk.

To discuss Street Play sessions in Elmbridge, please contact the Play Development Officer on 01372 474544 or email shout@elmbridge.gov.uk.

Please note: Street Play sessions differ from Street parties - see Street Parties


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