Set up a Street Play session

Find out how to set up a Street Play session in your neighbourhood, so that children can play safely and independently in the street.

What is Street Play?

Play Street - small children on bikes
Street Play is a new initiative in Guildford and part of a national scheme endorsed by Play England.

The Street Play project vision is for every child to have the freedom to regularly play actively and independently near their own front door, contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

Street Play sessions are temporary road closures organised by local residents to let children play safely and freely in their street.

Everyone is welcome to be part of local Street Play. It's a great way for neighbours to get to know each other.

How Street Play works

  • A typical Street Play session is an after-school or weekend event, for up to two hours. Led by neighbours, for neighbours, the session is only publicised within the immediate streets. 

  • A residential road is closed to through traffic, with volunteer stewards at each road closure point to redirect through traffic and escort residents' cars in and out safely.

  • Parents and carers are responsible for their own children.

  • The emphasis is on free, unstructured play, and children bringing out their own toys - skipping ropes, bikes, scooters, etc. Children are given the space and permission to play in the street, while adults have a chance to meet and get to know their neighbours better and experience their street as a 'shared space'.

  • There are limited costs involved, such as photocopying flyers. There is no fee for a Street Play road closure.

  • Street closure notices are put up in the road in the weeks before the event.

Organising a Street Play session

  1. Talk to your neighbours, explain what you'd like to do, discuss any concerns they may have and hopefully get their support and interest to join in. You could also make a leaflet to put through their doors and invite people to an informal meeting to discuss having Street Play in your road.

    Adults and road closed sign Play Street

  2. When you have enough support and people to be stewards on the day, you need to apply for a temporary road closure.

  3. You can request multiple dates at once, please email playdevelopment@guildford.gov.uk with the additional dates.

  4. Once you have permission to close the road, you need to let all those living in the road know the date and time and what will happen. It's a good idea to print some leaflets with the details and post them through each household's letterbox.

  5. When you receive the road closure notices you will need to photocopy these and put them up in the street to make sure everyone is informed.

  6. On the day, meet up with your stewards 15 minutes before the Street Play session is due to start so they know what they need to do. Close the road using your signs and traffic cones and then everyone can start playing!

Apply for a road closure 

We will not charge a fee for road closures for Street Play sessions. 

To apply, you need to:

Notes for applicants

The Council is permitted to make a road closure order 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 to be valid and cannot be resolved
  • if the Council is not satisfied with any of the arrangements made and/or if you have not complied with the guidance in this note

You will be responsible for the costs involved and ensuring that manned barriers and signage are in place. If you application is approved, you can email playdevelopment@guildford.gov.uk to book the road closure loan pack that includes the signs, cones and high visibility jackets.

Before submitting your application, you should consider the implications of the road closure for emergency service access, bus operators, taxi operators and Highways (Surrey County Council) and others who may be inconvenienced by it. You should discuss the proposals with:

  • Surrey County Council roadclosures@surreycc.gov.uk
  • Surrey Police 01483 571212
  • South East Coast Ambulance Service 0300 123 0999
  • Surrey Fire and Rescue 03456 009 009

During the event, there must be clear access at all times for emergency vehicles. You must have a plan of how the emergency services can get access if there is an accident.

The Council strongly advises you to carry out a risk assessment for your event and consider purchasing public liability insurance. Further information on public liability insurance and risk assessments can be found online at Street Party or The Big Lunch.

The site must be left clean and tidy after the event. You will be responsible for clearing your own rubbish.

You should apply for a road closure at least 8 weeks before the closure date so we have time to process your application. We can't guarantee we can process your application if it's received later than this time.

The person completing the form will be the named representative who will be available at all times immediately before, during and after the event so they can be contacted by the Council, Surrey County Council or the Police if necessary.

Further information

  • The Playing Out website is great for inspiration, information and useful downloads. It also has a Useful Stuff page to assist people setting up a Street Play session anywhere in the country, including example risk assessments, posters and a guidance manual. Playing Out is based in Bristol and was started in 2008 by a couple of mums who were frustrated that their children couldn't easily play outside in the street as they had when they were young. News has spread and there are now hundreds of streets across the UK with regular Street Play sessions.

  • You can borrow a free Street Play Pack from us, subject to availability, that includes 'Road Closed' signs, traffic cones and high visibility vests for stewards by emailing playdevelopment@guildford.gov.uk.

  • To discuss Street Play sessions in our borough, please contact our Play and Youth Development Officer on 01483 444764; email: playdevelopment@guildford.gov.uk.

  • You can read how the residents of Wodeland Avenue set up their first street play session in this icon Street Play case study. [1.32MB]