Playing Out

Friday 22 March 2024

What is ‘Playing Out’?

‘Playing Out’ or ‘Play Streets’ is simply providing children with a safe space to enjoy the freedom of playing outside on the street with their friends. This involves closing a street for a couple of hours to through traffic. The model was started in Bristol in 2009 and has since become a national movement. For more information, see

Why is Freshford Church School organising a ‘Playing Out’ event on Freshford Lane?

We are organising a ‘Playing Out’ event to explore the benefits and impact ‘playing out’ has on our children, communities and spaces. It will encourage families to use active travel options including volunteer walking buses that day thereby reducing habitual congestion and problem parking on Freshford Lane.

Because road safety, traffic congestion, air pollution and poor parking are adversely affecting the village and children’s safety, our event is also aimed at visualising the promises and challenges that could occur if a school street were established outside Freshford School.

Our School Streets programme tackles the congestion, poor air quality and road safety concerns that many schools experience. We do this by restricting motor traffic at the school gates for a short period of time, generally at drop-off and pick-up times (Sustrans).

What are the benefits of Playing Out and School Streets?

  • promotes healthy habits, happiness and a sense of belonging
  • contributes to community-building
  • encourages active travel
  • normalises street play and children’s right to play
  • addresses loss of children’s rights, voice and visibility
  • provides childhood freedom away from screens
  • creates adult and intergenerational connections
  • teaches road safety and a better understanding of residential streets
  • encourages a stand against car dominance
  • protects the environment
  • improves air quality

Possible concerns

Access for emergency response vehicles, people with disabilities, deliveries etc access will still be available if needed with stewards either marshalling vehicles at walking speed or using whistles to clear the road.
Adding to long-term and frequent road closurescurrently this is a one-off, experimental 2-hr closure with a significant lead-up time to plan alternative arrangements.
Practicalities including Galleries prescription pick-upsthe relevant staff have been made aware of the Playing Out event and have made suitable arrangements to ensure no-one is affected.
Negative impact on local businessesconcerns for local businesses can be addressed and alternative access is available.
Unsafe expectations being taught to childreneven young children understand the difference between an event with a road closure and normal circumstances. The children at Freshford School will be learning about road safety as part of the curriculum prior to the event and accessing a specialist assembly with B&NES Road Safety Team and Volker Highways.
Anxiety over potential car damageif drivers are worried, they can move their cars for the duration of the session. Organisers and stewards will be do their best to ensure children play responsibly. The risks are no higher than when children more around the village ordinarily.

Addressing concerns

Please contact Talia Kelly if you have any questions or concerns at Alternatively, you can contact B&NES directly. Resident, parent and pupil surveys will be held after the event so we can consider everyone’s views.

10 February 2024
Last Updated
15 February 2024