Sustrans and Wandsworth organise borough’s first ever Play Street

Two children posing with their bikes

In Wandsworth, we worked with Granard School on creating a Play Street event for the children and their families

12 June 2019

We’ve been working in partnership with the London Borough of Wandsworth and Granard Primary School to transform the road outside the school into the borough’s first ever Play Street, making it safer, less polluted and more enjoyable for pupils to walk, cycle or scoot.

Making positive change happen

Our extensive experience with schools and local authorities throughout London means that we can make positive change happen. In Wandsworth, we worked with Granard School on creating a Play Street event for the children and their families and we liaised with the borough on behalf of the school for permission to close the road. We will be monitoring parents' views of the Play Street and providing Wandsworth with a report and evaluation which is part of our work to support the borough in their ambition to role out regular School Streets more widely. 

It’s great to be working with Granard School and the London Borough of Wandsworth, as they take the first step in creating a safer and cleaner environment outside the school.

-   Sustrans' London Director, Matt Winfield

Pedal power and freedom to play

Children were able to walk, scoot, cycle and play freely outside their school in the afternoon of Wednesday 12 June 2019 when the council closed Cortis Terrace to motor traffic in the afternoon. By opening the street to children and parents they provided children with a safe space to play. The aim of closing the street outside the school was to ease congestion, improve air quality and road safety. These are issues that many families are concerned about, particularly during drop-off and pick-up time.

Our June Play Street included fun playground games, scooter and bike skills and a smoothie making bike! Everyone had great fun making their own delicious, nutritious drinks using pedal power.

Big step to a safer and cleaner school environment

Organising a Play Street is a great first step to making the roads outside schools safer and less polluted. A Play Street can also lead to a more permanent School Street, where the road restricts motor traffic access every school day at drop-off and pick-up times.

By demonstrating that closing the road outside our school is achievable, and by measuring its impact and sharing our findings, we are aiming to encourage more regular street closures.

- Headteacher Cheryl Grigg

Together we make a difference

We already have a great relationship with Granard Primary School, delivering our bespoke schools behaviour change programme Bike It Plus. Our Bike It officer, Emma, works closely with the school delivering activities such as bikers breakfasts, classroom activities and topical assemblies. 

Sustrans’ London Director Matt Winfield said:

“It’s great to be working with Granard School and the London Borough of Wandsworth, as they take the first step in creating a safer and cleaner environment outside the school.

“All the schools across London are in locations which breach World Health Organisation limits for air quality. Urgent action is needed, and we want national government to support local authorities to make it safer and easier for parents and children to walk, scoot and cycle to school. To do that, the roads outside schools need to feel safe. A great start is eliminating motor traffic at the beginning and end of the school day.

“It’s wonderful that Granard School has ambitions to do this on a more regular basis and that Wandsworth is keen to roll out School Streets to other locations in the borough. Hopefully, others will follow Granard’s example.”

Granard’s Headteacher Cheryl Grigg said:

“The streets around our school are often dominated by idling cars and traffic at drop-off and pick-up times, resulting in air pollution and an environment that is generally unpleasant for walking and cycling.

“By demonstrating that closing the road outside our school is achievable, and by measuring its impact and sharing our findings, we are aiming to encourage more regular street closures.

“Ultimately, we want to affect a permanent change in the way children travel to school and also hope to inspire more schools to try this approach and to raise awareness to the public about travel and its impact on health, well-being and the environment.”

While vehicle traffic is normally prevented from entering any school streets, it does not apply to local residents who live in the streets or drivers with a disability who need access. The schemes apply only during term times.

Read more about our work in London