Play streets

Children in Hackney are reclaiming the streets, thanks to a groundbreaking scheme enabling residents to close residential streets for a few hours to through traffic, turning them into play streets.

There are more than 60 play streets in Hackney, including 3 schools and a children’s centre, which host termly sessions.

Apply for a play street order

A play street order allows you to close your street for up three hours per week or month. Please note that main roads or those on a bus route cannot be closed.

Consult with neighbours before applying

It’s important that you consult with people living in your street before completing an application form.

You must also provide evidence of residents’ support with your application using our support petition template.

How to consult and build support: 

  • talk to people you know in your street to gauge interest and to get help and support
  • send a letter to all residents to introduce the idea and invite them to an informal residents meeting. This is an opportunity to express concerns, ask questions and discuss practicalities
  • another approach is to do a physical door knock, to introduce the idea personally


The application pack includes a template letter you need to send to all neighbours, giving them official notification of the application.

To apply, complete the application form and email to

If your application is approved, we will provide you with road closed signs (and where needed, road ahead closed signs) to put up on the day.

Stewarding the closures

During play streets sessions the street won’t be closed completely; people living on the street can still drive to and from their homes at 5mph. You will need to recruit friends or neighbours to help on the day; there has to be someone at each end of the street to warn cars and escort them in or out once children have been cleared from the road.

Benefits of play streets

See Playing Out for lots of information about street play and why playing in streets can be good for children. Play streets:

  • allow children to play near home
  • give children the space to play energetically
  • increase sense of community by bringing neighbours together

Play streets in Hackney

Play streets evaluation report

Our Play Streets have reached more than 1,600 children and led to thousands of hours of active play, a report by children’s play expert Tim Gill shows.

Page updated on: 6 April 2023