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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/your-guide-to-organising-a-street-party/your-guide-to-organising-a-street-party
Street parties are simple to organise. This guidance sets out what you need to think about and busts the myths about what’s needed.
What sort of events does this guidance apply to?
This is about the sort of street parties that groups of residents get together to arrange for their neighbours.
The main differences between a small street party and other public events are listed below.
|Street parties||Other public events|
|Only for residents/neighbours||Anyone can attend|
|Publicity only for residents||External publicity (such as in newspapers)|
|In a quiet residential road or street||In buildings, parks etc|
|Normally no insurance||Insurance needed|
|No formal risk assessment needed||Risk assessment common|
|No licences normally necessary unless the sale of alcohol is involved||Licence usually needed|
How to organise a street party
Organising a street party just for residents and neighbours is very simple and does not need a licence. Use the application form to apply to your council, which in most cases will be the district or borough. This should provide all the information they need. You can find your council by entering your postcode at find your local council.
The number one tip for holding a party is to plan early, share jobs out amongst residents and get in touch with your council at least 4-6 weeks in advance. A good first point of contact will be your council’s highways, events or communities team. If you encounter any difficulties speak to your local councillor who will be happy to help.
Street parties – the myths and the facts
Myth 1: It’s too difficult and confusing
Streets Alive and The Big Lunch have great websites to help you plan. You can also use GOV.UK to access local information and contact details for more advice (enter your postcode at: Apply to hold a street party).
You should not need a risk assessment – as long as consideration is given to the needs of all those attending, common sense precautions should be enough.
Myth 2: You need a licence
The Licensing Act 2003 does not require a music licence at a street party unless amplified music is one of the main purposes of the event.
However, if you plan to sell alcohol you will need to check whether you need a Temporary Events Notice. This is a temporary permission for licensable activities which currently costs £21 and covers events of less than 500 people. For more information or to make an application, please contact your local licensing authority by entering your postcode at Temporary Events Notice.
Myth 3: The law requires complex forms for a road closure and councils need to sign off every detail
For most small parties in quiet streets, all your council needs to know is where and when the closure will take place so they can plan around it (for example, so emergency services know). They will need a few weeks’ advance notice as they will need to put in place a traffic regulation order.
If councils really need more information they will contact organisers, but they are expected to take a ‘light touch’ approach. If your council asks for excessive information, you should challenge them.
Alternatively you can organise a gathering or ‘Street Meet’ on private land, such as a driveway or front garden, without any requirement to fill in council forms. Residents should speak to their council about plans. Streets Alive has some excellent guidance on how to hold a Street Meet.
Myth 4: The law requires a fee to be charged for a road closure
The Department for Transport has scrapped guidance that led some councils to over-complicate the process and to charge people wanting to close their road. If your council is making a charge, you have every right to question what those charges are for.
Myth 5: It’s too late to ask for a road closure
Some councils have set deadlines to help them manage their work. But there are no deadlines in law, so if they look unreasonable ask your council to be flexible. If you can’t or don’t want to close your road, you could plan a simpler Street Meet (see Myth 3 above).
Myth 6: You need to buy expensive road signs
Some local councils will lend you signs and cones, or you can hire or buy signs, or even print your own from downloadable templates if they are for use in daylight. Streets Alive gives advice on road closures.
Myth 7: You need expensive insurance
There is no requirement from central government to have public liability insurance. Many councils do not insist on it so you should challenge those who do.
But if you think insurance would be a good idea, have a look at the advice on the Streets Alive and The Big Lunch websites and shop around. Quotes for insurance start from around £50, which can be split between people attending, or you could hold a raffle or ask for donations to cover the costs.
Myth 8: You need a food licence
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has confirmed that one-off events such as street parties aren’t usually considered food businesses, so there are no forms to fill in. However, you must ensure that any food provided is safe to eat.
The FSA website provides more advice about providing safe food at street parties and other community events.
The NHS Choices website has practical tips on how to prepare and cook food safely.
Myth 9: You need a licence to run a raffle or lottery
You do not have to register a lottery (which includes raffles, sweepstakes and tombolas) if you are running an ‘incidental non-commercial lottery’, for which tickets must be sold and the winners announced at the event.
Anyone at the event (including children) can take part in this sort of lottery. The expenses that can be deducted from the proceeds must not be more than £100, and no more than £500 can spent on prizes (not including donated prizes).
The Gambling Commission’s website has more information about running a lottery.