Most of us remember the days when we could play football and ride our bikes in the street without too much fear of anything happening more ghastly than a grazed knee.

But that's not the case for the growing number of children being brought up in cities and large towns.

So a group of parents in Colchester have decided to adopt an idea that will see their road closed, cars driven out of the way and children will have free reign to play.

They also hope closing the road to traffic for two hours every week will help boost community spirit and give children a safe place to play during the summer.

Parents and children in Colchester react to the news that they can close their street for two hours to allow free play from August

Parents and children in Colchester react to the news that they can close their street for two hours to allow free play from August

Road closures during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee have seen an increase in the popularity of street parties.

Naomi Fuller, communications co-ordinator for Playing Out, an organisation that helps communities with similar schemes, said that Bristol was the first city to adopt the idea.

Ms Fuller said: 'The main aim behind it and the way it grew was based on active play, particularly for urban children that don't live near any green space.

'Bristol was the first local authority to make it easy for residents to apply for regular road closures for play and brought in a new policy to enable this to happen across the city.'

Some streets carry out road closures once a week while many others do it every two weeks or once a month.

She added that the idea was beneficial to children's health and got neighbours together, helping gain a sense of community.

Childminder Kim Barnetson said: 'It's not just about children playing out. It's about the community reclaiming their streets and using the area not only as something you drive through but somewhere you catch up with your neighbours.'

aThe schemes are designed for children in urban areas who don't always have access to green space

The schemes are designed for children in urban areas who don't always have access to green space

Mrs Barnetson said families wanted to continue what they had started with their Diamond Jubilee street party last summer.

She said: 'It was great to see the kids out in the street going up and down on their scooters.

'One of my neighbours put a little slip through the door about a scheme in Bristol and asked if it was something I would like to set up.

'I contacted the people in Bristol and they have been really helpful with the legal stuff. We spoke to Essex County Council and said we would like to pioneer the scheme.

'We're going to be guinea pigs and if it works we can encourage others to do it and if it doesn't then at least we have tried.'

The scheme was first used in Bristol two and a half years ago. Mothers Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose wanted to get to know their neighbours better.

Three years later there are more than 30 streets in Bristol and beyond replicating their Playing Out sessions

The first closure in King Stephen Road will take place next month.

Residents of King Stephen Road will have to inform Essex County Council when they want to close the road in advance.

They will then be able to shut it to cars for two hours. Residents will act as wardens at either end of the closure.

They will instruct through traffic they cannot enter as well as letting through emergency vehicles.

Many people living on the street have said they will move their cars for the closure, but it is not compulsory, and people can drive down the street as long as they are going at walking speed and guided by stewards