Let’s help shape London’s neighbourhoods for play

9 Feb

The Mayor’s consultation on new Supplementary Planning Guidance, means that children’s play space, in London at least, will still be afforded some protection by the planning framework, says Adrian Voce.

The Mayor of London is the ultimate planning authority for the capital and its region, with responsibility for long-term spatial development. His strategy for this is known simply as the London Plan.

One of my proudest achievements as director of the charity London Play was to successfully promote commitments to children’s play within this overarching strategy for the city. As a consequence of the first London Plan including a policy to protect and secure space for children’s play, London Play was commissioned by the Mayor to draft guidance on developing play strategies for the London Boroughs. (The Mayor’s play policy proved to have influence beyond London as the Big Lottery Fund’s Children’s Play Initiative of 2006 drew heavily on his approach; influencing, in turn, the last Government’s 2008 Play Strategy).

The Mayor then set out to establish some new benchmark standards for play space itself, in the form of Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG), which was drafted for the Mayor by a team including Tim Gill, and issued in 2008.

The current mayor is now replacing the first London Plan with a new one extending to 2031. The SPG for play is consequently being reviewed. The consultation document was published today along with details of how to respond (see the link below).

It is a mark of how far we have come in play policy – and hugely important for future generations of children in London – that the current Mayor wants to retain a commitment to play provision within the planning framework for the capital. Now let’s make sure he gets the fullest and best possible response from play advocates and practitioners.

Shaping Neighbourhoods: Children and Young People’s Play and Informal Recreation SPG | Greater London Authority.

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