In a nutshell, to start a play street you need to get your neighbours on board with the idea and have enough practical support to make sure you can run the regular sessions safely. The process of applying varies somewhat depending on which London borough you are in.
We have loads of guidance and resources to help you in our organisers’ section. We also have a generic guide here. But the general process everywhere goes something like this:
1. Sound out a few neighbours
Do the neighbours you are in touch with like the sound of the idea? Will they support you? If yes, call an on-street meeting to discuss the idea and agree days/times. Will it be monthly on a Saturday morning? Or weekly on Wednesday afternoon?
2. Inform all affected residents
Post a letter with your proposal through the door of everyone who will be affected by the play street, and include a way for them to respond. Some councils ask you to collect signatures of support (so you will need to knock on doors); others just want to know about any objections you receive. Check here to see the requirements in your borough.
3. Apply to the council
Once you’ve done your consultation you can apply through your local council. Check our map to see what their process is. Some councils have online application forms; others require paper submissions. Some will accept applications at any time; other have set deadlines. A few have quite long processing times. To avoid disappointment, make sure you check how far in advance of your first session you need to submit your application.
4. Play in the street!
Once the council gives you the ok, you can start your sessions – on the times and days you have permission for. Make sure you tell everyone about it! Also work out who is doing what on the day – most crucially that the road closure points are marshalled (and that there is a pot of tea on the go) at all times!
More detail is in our Residents Guide to Play Streets or drop us a line – we are happy to help!