Friday, 23 August 2013

All Played Out

If on Wednesday (21st August) you found you passage to Waitrose blocked at Hampton Road there was a legitimate reason for this.

The residents of Hampton Road held ‘Playing Out’ afternoon which meant closing the road to traffic from 3 to 6pm so residents and children could enjoy some car free playing in the street time.

Sutton Council delivered 3 road closed signs so that one could go at the junction of Windsor and
Hampton, one in the middle of Hampton Road as this was the end of the restriction and also one at the end where it meets Balmoral to stop people coming down and realising that they couldn't go any further. People were also stationed at each end to explain the situation to some of the more enthusiastic drivers who were keen to plough on regardless.

The 20 or so children played in the street on their scooters and bikes; they played with a swing ball, had races up and down, played a sort of piggy in the middle game and generally enjoyed the space as children do. When they got tired or hot the adults suggested other ways of entertaining themselves but the kids ultimately decided themselves what they wanted to do. The adults stood by and supervised (making sure they didn't overshoot down the hill into Windsor Road!) The older neighbours enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of cake on the side and one or two of the newer residents came out to say hello.

The ‘Playing Out’scheme started in Bristol in 2009 and the idea is to give children the freedom to ‘reclaim’ the streets.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be an organised event like with a street party. The Scheme only runs from June to September and you need to apply to the council six weeks in advance in order to close your road from a maximum of 3 hours.

Veronica who organised the event (and sent in the pictures) told the blog:
“In order to apply you need to seek out neighbours opinions, which I did with a letter through each door (all 70+ of them). I had already spoken to 3-4 of my neighbours who had offered to help. So we got a date that suited us and advised the other neighbours that this was the date we were looking to apply for, they then had two weeks to consider and raise any questions/concerns and the first point of call was me.  I did not get any negative responses from any neighbours, they were all keen and enthusiastic. 
The application was then sent off to Sutton Council telling them if there were any objections that I knew of - which there weren't. 
Once permission was granted, Sutton Council provided me with an email notice that had to be put up at the end of the road two weeks prior to the event.  I also put up my own notices on Monday along the part of the road (I only cut off half of Hampton) for people I thought would park who were not residents, hoping that they might consider parking elsewhere so as not to have to drive out later. 
We chose the summer holidays because we thought it would have less impact on traffic. It went down really well with the neighbours, young and old in our road, not so well with the cut through drivers however three hours isn't a life time and I am sure they will get over it. Hampton Road is a particularly busy "cut through" when Central Road is clogged up with traffic however we didn't think it too much to ask if the cars could go down another road temporarily. 
There was a great atmosphere, the kids had a ball and some of the more mature neighbours enjoyed sharing some time chatting (drinking tea) and getting together which they might not otherwise get a chance to.  I think the sunshine helped a lot. 
Highly recommend applying to Sutton Council under the playing out scheme. It brings back a certain nostalgia of the good old days when kids could kick a ball about in the street without fear of being run over by an 80 mph rat runner. 
All in all a success ... We are definitely planning more next year!”
Apparently Councils (including Sutton) are rather keen on the idea particularly after last year’s successful street parties. Guidance notes from Sutton for holding a playing out event can be found here.  The blog understands that at least two other roads have been closed off in Sutton this year for similar things.

What do Worcester Parkers think of this idea? Is it a great way to get to know your neighbours and give local kids somewhere to play? Or is it a misuse of a public highway in an already congested area? Comment now...


20 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

justasking said...

I wonder if people wanted to object, but feared being named and persecuted if they did.

Seems a massive waste of council time when there are parks nearby for this purpose.

Just bitter and twisted said...

It seems (from your other post) that you are also unhappy because a toy shop has opened in Worcester Park too.
So there seems to be a notable anti-children theme running through your mind...

Are you, by chance, the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

TELLING THE TRUTH said...

I live in this road and I can tell you it was bloody awful,The screaming and shouting from these kids was terrible,would rather than have buses going up and down all day!

TELLING THE TRUTH said...

You are right some of us were very unhappy but were to afraid to oppose these 'I have a buggy get out of my way' people.There are plenty of parks around they should use them.

Doh! said...

You hate the sound of children and yet, you bought a house in Hampton Road, which is so especially popular with young families?

When you moved in, presumably you failed to notice the rather obvious PRIMARY SCHOOL at the end of it?

If you hated the noise of aircraft, would you buy a house near Heathrow Airport?... And complain about the noise afterwards?

Jo bloggs said...

i live in this road also, and although I have a child, thier is absolutely no way i would let them play on the road, I've brought up my child with the mind set that the road is not a place to run or play on. It is place to be cautious and careful, i do not want to give my child the impression that a road is an environment to play on ? how ridiculous ?? ... their is a park less that 10 min walk around the corner, cuddington wreck. an this is where I will continue to take my child to play carefree.

guest D said...

It's so sad, 3 hours, I make that less than 0.1% of a year, but you won't give up even that much to let kid's play and make noise.


I must admit that as a young kid I rarely played in the streets, the bomb sites were much more fun!


Being out in the open air playing with other children is an important part of a child's development and ideally with little apparent adult supervision, so they learn self reliance. Parks may exercise them physically but socially they are lacking.

TELLING THE TRUTH said...

I have lived here for 46 years! When my family moved here the children did not hang around on the streets they had respect for their neighbours then. Now sadly they have no respect!

Doh! said...

Are you claiming that 46 years ago, there was no school at the end of Hampton Road? Or that nobody attended it?
If you concede that there was a school there, perhaps you'd like to tell us (in the days before car ownership was common) how children used to move from their local homes to school and back again? [Without obviously disrespectfully using the pavement and crossing the road outside your house, which is now causing you such a problem].

captain sensible said...

This was particularly silly, given the simultaneous congestion in Central Road caused by the Council's contractors having to put right their previous shoddy workmanship. Does the right hand not know what the left is doing?

Notablogger said...

My goodness. Are all these moaners for real?


Good on Hampton Road for reclaiming their road for just 3 hours. Just 3 precious hours when they were out having innocent fun and getting to know other kids from their street instead of being stuck inside glued to a smartphone/TV/computer screen.


And good for the grown ups, who I'm sure will have forged better relationships through meeting other neighbours during those precious 3 hours.


How mean spirited that this simple act has engendered such criticism.


If this is what Worcester Park is like, then I'm leaving to go and live somewhere less uptight and intolerant.

Worcester Park Blogger said...

I hear Ashtead's very nice...

guest said...

"car free" ? Not according to the pictures. They do emphasise what an eye-sore parked cars are, though.

TELLING THE TRUTH said...

Doh must be your real name as you just dont get it do you?This is nothing to do with the school which my 4 children attended! This is about children that are outside peoples house screaming and shouting and SWEARING!,which none of mu children ever did because everyone cared about others then.Now its a case I will do what I like and sod everyone else.

Andrew said...

I would imagine that 46 years ago children regularly played out in the street. It's slowly been eroded away over time, but you must have to concede this point?


I have lived in WP all my life, I'm 30 now, and my friends and I used to play in the street almost every day during the summer, even stretching to playing football in the road, using a tree in a grass verge and the white line in the centre of the road as goal posts!


I agree that it just isn't practical for kids to play in the road in most roads due to the traffic, but the point is that for 3 hours Sutton council allowed this road to hark back to a golden age of 'playing out', and this has undoubtedly planted a seed in those kids and parents and neighbours alike who will now see each other more frequently.


Totally cannot see what's wrong with this in the slightest! It's 3 hours out of a whole year!!! Lighten up!

Doh! said...

Doh! has everything to do with someone who chooses to both live in an area popular with young families AND (literally) just a stone's throw from a primary school, yet who apparently has such a deep hatred the sight and sound of children! Although, predictably, it's a very different story when it comes to their own children...

I find it very hard to believe that your 4 children spent their entire childhoods in a state of complete and enforced silence - unless of course, you gagged them. Nor that they ever undertook any activity, of any kind, between home and school - unless they were marched back and forth, as a chain. Try actually 'telling the truth'

Telling the truth said...

Doh,you are a typical example of what is wrong with society today,you jump in ranting before your brain has had time to take in what you are reading.you have no respect for anyone!I like living here always have done,But I would never have allowed my children to stand outside my neighbours homes and bother them.,I love children just not the ones who stand outside my house and scream,shout and swear,I am telling you some of it very crude indeed!.I do not care if they are outside their own homes.You seem to be a bully who is ignorant of other people's feelings,so I shall not bother with you any more.You are a waste of space,I just hope one day you are unhappy with something but are forced to endure it then told but some ignorant person your the problem! I feel very sorry for your children if you have any as they will not go far in life if they have your attitude,

Laura B said...

Ahh Worcester Park! On one hand you have proactive members of the community that actively engage with the local area and, in my opinion make it a better place to live for themselves and others; the WP blogger and the aforementioned Veronica being 2 easy examples to give. However the amount of NIMBY types on here is laughable...the impact on your car journey, inconvenience at 3 hours of noise and your inability to teach your children to change their behaviour dependant on the environment around them - these are your failings and not the council's, children's or this scheme's. Still, everyone loves a scapegoat don't they?

jo bloggs said...

after reading everyone's comments, im very much FOR the '3 hours out of the year' theory. but I just think nowadays we live in a place, day and age, generation where the road is a dangerous place, the roads are a lot faster, cars and peoples property is unfortunately not respected as much.
Although I never lived in these ages where we could play in the roads (I was never born), I would LOVE to go back to these times. but with the ways things are, its just not that possible anymore, (sigh)

WBW said...

These 'I have a buggy get out of my way' people??? Are you for real? As I have read, you were given more chance to oppose than you officially needed, by law, to be given. Every care was taken to make sure you felt you had been included in the process. You have no problem 'telling the truth' on here which just seems to be making a lot of people unhappy. Try manning up a bit and voicing your opinions where they might actually bring about the change you so clearly feel you have a right and an ability to foster. You also have no qualms about swearing in your postings and yet you CLAIM children were swearing outside your house. Children learn what they hear. What a shame a positive experience for most has to be spoiled by these 'I am a misery and master of sweeping generalisations, did I hear happiness in here' people.
PS Please, there is no need to reply.

Post a Comment

The Worcester Park Blog welcomes your comments and opinions!