Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has welcomed the move to cut more Whitehall red tape to make it easier for communities to hold street parties to celebrate the Royal Wedding.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced that he is writing to all local councils in England informing them that he is scrapping the Department for Transport guidance on road closures. The guidance - which was intended to cover all types of special event - was sometimes being misinterpreted by councils causing them to impose extra bureaucracy and costs on residents. This led to some communities being told they would need to employ traffic management companies to close off their road when holding even small street parties.
Now the guidance has been abolished, councils all over the country are free to avoid charges for street party road closures. These areas include much of London, such as Lambeth, Brent, Harrow and Barking and Dagenham, and also Bolton, Bucks, Kent, Liverpool, and Surrey.
The Secretary of State and Transport Minister want councils to use their discretion and ensure that they don’t impose unnecessary burdens. This follows the announcement last summer when the Communities Secretary updated the Government’s practical guide to organising street parties and fetes.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“Whitehall has cut back the red tape which holds local community groups back and councils should now do their bit to support this national day of celebration.
“This is as an opportunity for councils to help local residents from all backgrounds to come together, and reinforce our shared identity and sense of Britishness.”
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:
“The Royal Wedding will be a day of celebration for communities up and down the country and street parties are a great way for people to get together and share this happy occasion.
“In the past our guidance to councils on road closures has sometimes been misinterpreted and led to residents facing escalating costs and unnecessary bureaucracy.
“I hope that withdrawing this guidance will make it easier for councils to let street parties go ahead and allow local communities to celebrate without being bogged down by paperwork.”
Chris Gittins, Director of the group Streets Alive said:
“Thanks to Eric Pickles and his efforts, the load of red tape on the residents has been lightened at last. Meanwhile, we will continue to work with residents to press councils to scrap even small charges and to rethink on the need for insurance for these great community spirit-building events.”
Streets Alive worked closely last August with the Communities Secretary when he wrote to all local authorities to reduce red tape for street parties. This guidance has steadily been taken up by most councils.