Portsmouth 'play streets' scheme given green light

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image captionChildren could play in Francis Avenue during trial events in 2019

Residential streets in Portsmouth are set to become car-free on certain Sunday afternoons to allow children to play outside.

The city council's cabinet approved a scheme to create "play streets" following a trial last year.

It will allow residents to set up committees to organise car free zones in their neighbourhood.

Campaigner Laura Mellor said it had "massive potential for a positive impact".

Under the scheme, streets will be able to close to through traffic on advertised Sunday afternoons for around three hours, with chaperones to guide any cars needing to leave or park , the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

image captionThe council guide will allow residents to organise play street events

The council's cabinet approved plans to produce a guide and deal with technical aspects of road closures while committees of residents will run the events themselves.

During the summer of 2019, Francis Avenue in Southsea closed for three hours on a Sunday afternoon.

Ms Mellor organised the closures after having the idea when the road had been temporarily shut for roadworks.

"The children really enjoyed the opportunities to have freedoms that children a generation or two ago would have taken for granted," she said.

"We're one of the most densely populated areas outside London - there is very little shared space apart from the pavements and roads."

The council's traffic boss, Lynne Stagg, added: 'I am absolutely delighted this is coming about.

"I remember when there were only two cars on my road and I spent my afternoons playing in the street. It was really lovely to see children being able to play together."

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