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Celebrate Streets for People on Car Free Day

7 August 2023

To celebrate World Car Free Day, Southwark Council is encouraging residents to organise a play street or street party, supporting the council’s ambitious Streets for People strategy to improve the air we breathe in Southwark.

Play streets are resident-organised events where neighbours on a road agree together, and with the council, to close their street temporarily to through-traffic. Between Friday 22 and Sunday 24 September, with council permission, roads can be closed between 10am and 6pm for a street party, and play streets can be held for three hours at times to suit each street, between 10am and 6pm. Applicants will need to inform their neighbours and apply to the council by 4 September. More details can be found at

Communities across Southwark are also being invited to apply for grants of up to £2,500 to run cycling events and activities. The grants, which can be used to fund activities over a six-month period, aim to encourage people from different backgrounds and ethnicities, and of different abilities and ages to try cycling.

Cllr James McAsh, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency, Clean Air and Streets, said: “We have to improve the air we breathe in Southwark, and take steps to tackle the Climate Emergency; as set out in our new Streets for People strategy. There’s so much great work going on – we’re creating more opportunities to walk and cycle; improving walking and cycling routes to schools, and investing in our community spaces making them safer, greener and more pleasant environments. World Car-Free Day is a perfect opportunity for our communities to enjoy their streets for socialising and play.”

The council is also using the school holidays as an opportunity to improve walking access around schools, including:

•         widening pavements on Toulmin St outside the entrance to Charles Dickens Primary School

•         putting in new pavements outside John Ruskin School, making the area easier for parents with pushchairs or people in wheelchairs

•         improving space outside Comber Grove Primary School, making it more accessible and putting in benches and trees. This builds on a successful School Streets scheme implemented in June 2020, which has received positive feedback from parents.

There are 26 School Streets schemes in place across Southwark – these timed closures reduce congestion, and therefore air pollution, outside schools, whilst encouraging parents and pupils to walk, cycle, scooter or use other greener ways to get to school. The new Streets for People strategy sets out the council’s ambition to get at least three new schools signed up each year.

The council launched a number of new cycling schemes in July, and these are already proving successful – around 1000 local residents have already signed up to take part in cycle training over the summer holidays, and over 1000 people have downloaded the BetterPoints Southwark app which encourages people to walk, cycle or use public transport.

You can find out more about all this work – including how to apply for the cycle grants or to become a community influencer – by visiting and searching Streets for People projects.

Page last updated: 07 August 2023

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