News story

Cutting red tape for summer fetes

Eric Pickles wants to stem the flow of relentless form filling, high costs and red tape for organising summer street parties and fetes.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Extortionate, inconsistent costs and paperwork for road closures, risk assessments, and temporary event notices are barriers to community events. It can often take weeks and cost thousands of pounds for councils trying to process these applications, which can deter both councils and organisers from putting on events.

There are examples of local communities having to apply for up to five separate licences, pay up to £5,000 for a temporary road closure and obtain insurance cover for £2 million for a typical outdoor event.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“Summer fetes and street parties are a great British tradition that we risk losing to overbearing bureaucracy.

“When it comes to putting on street parties, it’s like a red tape tombola for organisers depending on which council is processing their application.

“Of course we want people to be safe and sound but common sense has to prevail. People are being turned off getting involved due to a merry go round of forms, rules that differ from one council to the next, time and expense. It is time to get a grip, especially if we are to cultivate a sense of community, fix broken Britain and create the Big Society.”


There is often an inconsistent approach by councils who charge different fees and use a number of conflicting regulations, which can present barriers and confusion for small voluntary groups. Organisers can also find it tricky to get upfront advice on public liability insurance, and find out about hidden costs at the last minute.

Mr Pickles is working across government to agree a consistent approach for councils to follow. This will result in good practice guidance being set out for councils and more upfront transparency on what organisers need - whether it’s public liability insurance, road closure notices or health and safety assessments.

For more details on the barriers, please see the accompanying press release.

Published 1 August 2010