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Residents of a Palmers Green street are closing their road to traffic one Sunday a month to let their children play outdoors.

Drivers tend to use Devonshire Road as a rat run to avoid the traffic lights on the high street, but on the afternoon of Sunday 1st June, barriers will be placed at both ends and supervised by volunteer stewards. Only residents’ cars will be allowed in and out ­– at walking pace – and children will have the freedom play in the road as they choose.

This is a new scheme for Enfield – Devonshire Road is the borough’s first ‘play street’. The idea comes from Playing Out, an organisation started by two mothers in Bristol who wanted their children to play outdoors with the same freedom they had enjoyed growing up. As more streets take up the idea, local authorities across the country are offering road traffic orders like the ‘Temporary Play Street Order’ that Devonshire Road has successfully applied for.

‘We had a one-off trial a couple of years ago,’ says Devonshire Road resident Clare, a mother of two. ‘The children were so excited to have the freedom of the whole road to play in. One mum told me she was amazed that her son spent three hours running around outdoors instead of playing on his X-Box. We’re looking forward to doing this once a month.’

Richard, father of two and a town planner, is also looking forward to reclaiming the street. ‘Streets should be much more than just conduits for cars and parking. When we use it as a social space to play and meet our neighbours it changes the dynamic on the street completely.’

Neighbours will use the first play event to discuss ways to calm traffic on the street permanently.

For more information on play streets, see www.playingout.net, or contact Devonshire Road organisers via .

 

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