Harlow Council is to start a two-month consultation with local residents on its policy for ball games in the town.
The council's Environment & Community Committee has agreed to start work on adopting bye-laws which would prevent the playing of ball games and skateboarding in shopping areas, shopping hatches and garage areas. Meanwhile, local people will be consulted on their views on the playing of ball games in the rest of the town. Liberal Democrat councillor and committee member Lorna Spenceley said:
"This proposal strikes the right balance, between addressing immediately the problem of ball games in inappropriate places like shopping precincts and garage areas, while opening up a discussion with residents who will have different views on where else ball games are appropriate.
I also believe local schools have a vital role to play in this debate. Many local children regard green spaces associated with schools as public space for play, but for various reasons a number of schools have chosen to close these off out of school hours. We need to discuss play and the use of green space across the town, and encourage schools to see themselves and their green spaces as part of the local community."
The consultation exercise planned by the council will include a meeting of the Communities of Interest Forum, and a public meeting on Tuesday 28 November.