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Kent County Council considers closing roads for play streets

Kent County Council has said it is to consider temporary road closures to create safe spaces for children to play.

The council was asked to introduce a “play street” scheme to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of young people.

It would involve closing a road to traffic for a few hours, on a regular basis, so children can have a safe area to play freely, reports the BBC.

KCC debated a motion brought by the council’s Labour group at a full council meeting, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

Councillor Kelly Grehan, who proposed the idea, said the scheme “would make [Kent] a better place to grow up in”.

However, KCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, councillor David Brazier (Con), raised concern about children’s safety, volume of traffic and deliveries.

Mr Brazier said: “I anticipate objections to this scheme from residents who do not have off-street parking and will neither wish to have their vehicle struck by a football, nor feel obliged to move their car and lose their parking space.”

He offered “a constructive way forward” and said he was seeking more information to see if the Department for Transport (DfT) would support such a scheme.

He said: “I do not want to dismiss the aspiration of the motion and we would like to give it serious consideration.”

Ms Grehan (Lab) told the meeting: “Children are always inside, they do not know their neighbours, suffer from obesity, social anxiety and a mixture of mental health conditions.

“If you give children the time and space to play, common sense is they will quite naturally do it, be more active and more emotionally resilient.”

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