By Mark Williams

A petition has begun to turn part of a residential road in Hove into a 'play street'.

The southern half of Westbourne Street could become a safer place for children to play, with a 10mph speed limit and vehicle access restricted to residents, their visitors, and deliveries, if the petition is a success.

Ray Cunningham, 57, a freelance writer and translator who lives on the street began the petition recently and is aiming to get two-thirds of the residents in the affected half of the street to sign up.

Mr Cunningham said that so far there had been: “Almost 100 percent positive responses”.

With two young daughters of his own, aged eight and nine, Mr Cunningham believes they would benefit greatly from having a safe street to play on.

The idea came partly from last year's Jubilee celebrations, during which Westbourne Street was closed off for a street party.

Classification as a play street would not mean total road closure in the way that a street party does, but it instead acts as a traffic calming measure.

The disruption to residents driving to work would be minimal, as it would only take a few seconds more to drive to the end of the road.

The layout of Westbourne Street means that it is not considered a thoroughfare by most of Hove's commuters and Mr Cunningham said that the changes made to the street itself would be minimal.

Importantly for the residents, there would be no impact on parking space either, with spaces already at a premium.

The council has so far been supportive of the idea, and it could be the first of its kind in Brighton and Hove.

New York has long been an advocate of the play street, with a scheme which sees entire roads closed during summer months, to allow children to spend time outside on their neighbourhood streets safely.