Every year Bury Council and Six Town Housing are contacted about young people playing ball games in public places, asking if we can stop this from happening. It is an issue which can create strong feelings on both sides, as parents see it as a right that their child can play outside their home.

We have created this webpage to explain the issues surrounding the playing of ball games in residential areas; to offer advice to both local residents and parents of children who are affected; and provide details of who to contact if it becomes a serious nuisance.

The two sides to playing ballgames in the street

Ball games are a good source of exercise for young people, whilst allowing them to have fun and interact with other children. Parents often want children to stay close to the house and children have the right to play on the streets near their home so long as there is enough space for them to do this without interfering with other people’s property.

However, ball games, especially when played in residential areas, can be noisy and disturbing to local residents; lead to trespassing on other people’s property; and windows or cars being hit by a ball and broken/damaged.

Six Town Housing respects that residents need privacy, peace and quiet and safety in their home and the local area and that this can sometimes be compromised by young people playing ball games.

For most of the people who complain to us, it is not the playing of ball games that is the problem, rather the manner in which the ball games are played.

The key to minimising the disturbance caused by ball games is communication within the local community to reach a compromise that satisfies everybody. We would like the parents and residents to help us make the area safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Tips for keeping the peace

● Suggest that older children go to a nearby field or green space where they can play ball without upsetting others.

● For younger children, arrange a rota where they can be supervised by a responsible adult whilst playing on a nearby field where they can play ball without upsetting others.

● Educate young people to show an understanding of the way that ball games can affect others.

● Suggest that young people use light, plastic, air filled balls when playing ball games instead of hard leather balls.

● Try to arrange with your neighbours that ball games are not played after a certain time.

● Communicate with the child’s parents to reach a compromise that is suitable to all.

The Safety Issue

Some parents say that they are concerned that young people are not safe when away from the house unsupervised. A supervision rota is suggested in this instance, so that concerned parents can take it in turns to go to a nearby park or field with younger children.

It is also very important to remember that even quiet residential roads are used by cars. If a moving vehicle has to swerve to avoid either a ball or a child the results could be serious. Therefore, it is often safer to take children to a nearby park or field than to allow them to play on the street / in residential areas.

It is sensible to advise children not to play ball games on busy roads where vehicles pass frequently or in car parks / garage blocks.

Reporting issues

Six Town Housing and Bury Council take a neutral, balanced view on the issue of ball games and expect residents to work together to reach a compromise wherever possible. In extreme cases of persistent and reckless ball games playing, where there is deliberate nuisance, noise, disturbance, trespassing or high risk of criminal damage, Bury Council and Six Town Housing may use powers to intervene.

Any behaviour that causes harassment, alarm or distress is considered anti-social and Bury Council and Six Town Housing may consider taking action, including legal action if necessary, against individuals who behave in this way.

If you are Six Town Housing tenant or the person you are complaining about is a tenant, please contact us.

If you are not a Six Town Housing tenant and the person you are complaining about is not a tenant, report anti-social behaviour to Bury Council.

If an incident involves criminal damage or an abusive/violent element please contact Greater Manchester Police.