City of Edinburgh Council has approved an initiative that allows residents to temporarily close their roads to enable children to play safely outside.
‘Playing Out’ was trialled between April and August 2017, with 54 sessions taking place across 30 streets around the Scottish capital.
During the pilot, the council covered all costs including assessing and approving road closures and providing, delivering, and collecting road closure equipment.
Earlier this month, the council’s transport and environment committee agreed to implement Playing Out as council policy.
However, it says that further work is required to improve the guidelines and that a review will take place every three years to assess the cost of implementing Playing Out and its alignment with wider council priorities.
A consultation exercise carried out from December 2017 to January 2018 to evaluate the Playing Out pilot suggested there is ‘widespread support for the scheme’.
90% of respondents felt the sessions had given children a safe and beneficial opportunity to play, while 83% felt the session resulted in children making new friends.
88% said the initiative had increased the children’s sense of belonging in the community and 90% said it increased community connections between different generations.
Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Edinburgh’s transport and environment convener, said: “Our Edinburgh Playing Out pilot scheme saw hundreds of children, parents and neighbours reclaiming their streets for play, conversation and social interaction.
“Feedback from the public consultation was enormously positive and showed huge support for rolling this out as council policy.
“By making our streets places to spend quality time with friends and neighbours, we’re helping build strong community spirit, fostering connections between different generations and enabling children to flourish through free and active play.”
Lucy Richardson, representing Edinburgh Playing Out, said: “Edinburgh Playing Out, a group of parents and grandparents promoting children’s play, are delighted City of Edinburgh Council is planning to make ‘Edinburgh Play Streets’ council policy.
“We look forward to working together to promote temporary street closures allowing children to play safely and communities to get together.”