Cars were replaced by skateboards, bicycles and a bouncy castle in one city street yesterday afternoon.

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Families on Sandringham Road in the Golden Triangle came home to a closed-off street, with children running around and enjoying the sunshine.

It was the first time a playing out event has been hosted in Norwich, with parents taking inspiration from a similar scheme in Bristol.

Families on the street wrote to Norwich City Council asking for the road to be closed from 3.30pm to 5pm to allow children to play outside.

Teacher Freya Dearden, who lives on the street, said the road was normally so cramped with parked cars that parents struggled to push prams down the pavements.

“It harks back to the good old days,” she said. “We had more freedom then to play creatively. Sometimes you feel like you live in a car park.”

Her two children, Iris, four and Mabel, one, were among around 20 youngsters who enjoyed the freedom of the street.

And the 32-year-old hopes other people in the city will take inspiration from their example and close-off their roads for the afternoon.

She added: “It opens the doors for this to happen in other parts of Norwich.”

The parents from Sandringham Road are now putting pressure on councillors to make it easier for streets to be closed in Norwich to host similar events.

For yesterday’s playing-out afternoon, organisers had to pay the city council £36 and register the event as a street party. Organisers said it took two months to plan.

And at the moment parents will have to pay the £36 fee every time they want to host an event.

They want that to be changed so they can pay a flat fee for the year and have the street closed for a set number of evenings. Green Party councillor Lucy Galvin, who backed the road closure, said: “It was a fantastically successful event for the children and I would encourage the city council to support this in every way that they can.”

Yesterday’s road closure was part of a nationwide movement to shut streets so children can play.

Supporters say playing in the street increases community spirit, improves children’s health and helps them develop independence.

Mother-of-two Katie Dunne, 31, added: “It is nice to not have to go to the park. It is lovely to come outside your own front door and play.”

Sandy Winters, a mother of seven-year-old twins, said: “There are lots of parked cars here and it is a busy road. It is difficult to walk down the street.

“It would be nice to see the other streets do it.”

The street play afternoon was first proposed through our new social network website www.streetlife.com.Visit the website to see what is happening in your neighbourhood and to suggest similar events.

What do you think? Should more streets in Norwich be closed to allow children to play? Email us at eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk or write to Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

5 comments

  • Roads are public places - they do not belong to the people living beside them.Roads are not play areas for children , they are there to enable heavily taxed motorists to make their journeys. Play is best suited to gardens & public parks & motorists need to have access to all public roads at all times.

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    Tudor Bushe

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • looks like the £36 playing fee will kill this anti-car idea stone dead.

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    nrg

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

  • There is so much evidence that children need outdoor play for their health and well-being. Because of the ever more congested roads parents often do not feel confident letting their children travel to the parks independently. This is a great opportunity for children to get some independence and develop their social skills. It would be great to see it being rolled out elsewhere.

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    incomer

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • There is so much evidence that children need outdoor play for their health and well-being. Because of the ever more congested roads parents often do not feel confident letting their children travel to the parks independently. This is a great opportunity for children to get some independence and develop their social skills. It would be great to see it being rolled out elsewhere.

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    incomer

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

  • Surely the people who live around the road for decades have more rights than rat runners? For too long the world has been run by men with a degree of autism. Men who see everything mechanically and have no meaningful contact with their emotions or empathy for others. So many comments about reducing traffic or the Green Party bring out this type of man who boldly asserts the world would fall to pieces if we curtail their selfish liberty. To me, there could be little more worthwhile or rewarding than letting kids have a good time.

    Report this comment

    oldowl

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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