Campaigners in Deptford want to close a “rat-run” street to reduce pollution and allow safe access to a local park.  

DeptfordFolk parks group has already carried out a trial closure of Rolt Street and wants Lewisham Council to permanently shut the road where it surrounds Folkestone Gardens.  

The proposal is included in a community-led £2.9 million project, which, in collaboration with walking and cycling charity Sustrans and the council, aims to “make routes to parks, green spaces and schools healthier, safer and traffic free”.  

A consultation on the Deptford Liveable Neighbourhoods Project launched this month and includes plans for opening Canal Approach as a cycle way, making Woodpecker Walk safer and more accessible, improving and possibly closing Rolt Street by Folkestone Gardens, and closing the road in front of Sir Francis Drake Primary School. 

The group successfully had Princes Street closed for a trial  where a pickling contest took place last week. 

Chair of DeptfordFolkTrina Lynskey said Rolt Street was “just a carpark” for people who are not local to dump their cars and go elsewhere. 

“It’s really just a carpark, it’s a rat run – it’s not necessary. 

“We worked with Lewisham Council and, trying to redesign it, we had a temporary road closure, an outdoor film, and it was shortlisted for a healthy streets award.  

“Someone died on this street and another person died up the road on his bike – at one point 10 per cent of all road deaths in London were in this single ward.  

“Lewisham suggested just making it one way but we want it closed,” she said.  

If the closure went ahead, it would pave the way for a much larger play area for local children.  

At the moment there is a small playground by the Gardens and a skatepark.  

Trina said: “If we got rid of that road we could bring it all the way back and have a great space for children to come to.  

“If you want to give children the best start in life you have to give them the best opportunities to play.  

“We’re expecting children to play in the most miserable conditions. 

“When children play they develop socially – there’s no point intervening in knife crime when children are 15 and stabbing each other, you intervene in early years.  

“Every penny you spend in early years is a pound back.” 

The group is also campaigning to have Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) spent on playgrounds in the Evelyn Ward, where child poverty stands at 49 per cent. 

The levy is money that developers pay to councils when they build in the borough and residents can decide on where 25 per cent of it goes.

Trina said: “The Evelyn Ward has £574,000 alone – that’s how much development goes on here. 

“20,000 homes are planned for Lewisham and 10,000 of them are here.” 

The consultation closes in January.