The Ultimate Street Party Organization Handbook
Arranging street parties is a straightforward task. This guidance will outline the necessary considerations and dispel some misconceptions about the requirements.
What kind of events does this guidance pertain to?This information is specifically applicable to street parties organized by groups of residents in collaboration with their neighbors.
Here are the key distinctions between a small private street party and other public events:
Street parties Other public events Exclusive to residents/neighbors Open to anyone Promotion limited to residents External promotion (such as online or posters) Held in quiet residential roads, blocks of flats, or local green spaces Hosted in buildings, parks, etc. Self-organized Professionally or skillfully organized Normally no insurance required Insurance necessary No formal risk assessment required Risk assessment generally conducted Licenses usually unnecessary, unless alcohol is sold License typically required
How to arrange a street partyOrganizing a street party exclusively for residents and neighbors is a hassle-free process and does not require a license. Your local council may request you to complete a simple application form to obtain permission for a street party. To find your local council, enter your postcode at find your local council.
The primary advice for hosting a party is to plan well in advance and distribute responsibilities among residents. If you need to temporarily close the road, contact your council at least six weeks beforehand. Your initial point of contact can be the council's highways, licensing, events, or communities team. If you encounter any difficulties, seek assistance from your local councillor, who will be happy to help.
For more useful tips, advice, and support in organizing a successful event, visit The Big Lunch website, where you can request a free Big Lunch pack for organizers. Additional resources can be found on the Street Party website.
Further information for councils can be accessed on the Local Government Association website.
Street parties – debunking myths and stating the facts
Myth 1: It's too challenging and bewilderingWebsites like Street Party and The Big Lunch offer excellent resources to assist you in your planning. You can also utilize GOV.UK to access local information and contact details for further advice (enter your postcode at: Apply to hold a street party).
A risk assessment should not be necessary, as long as the safety needs of all attendees are taken into consideration. Common sense precautions should suffice.
A street party doesn't need to be elaborate; everyone can contribute something, and a few neighbors can share the organizational responsibilities to ensure it isn't overwhelming for one person and fosters a sense of collective ownership.
Myth 2: A license is mandatoryThe Licensing Act 2003 does not require a music license for a street party, unless the main purpose of the event is amplified music.
However, if you plan on selling alcohol, you should verify whether you need a Temporary Events Notice. This is a temporary permission for licensable activities, which currently costs £21 and applies to events with fewer than 500 attendees, including those involved in running the event.
To acquire more information or initiate an application, kindly get in touch with your local licensing authority by inputting your postcode on the following webpage: Temporary Events Notice.
Debunked Claim 3: Complex Documentation and Council Approval Required for Road ClosuresFor most intimate gatherings held on tranquil streets where road closures are necessary, your council simply needs to be informed of the location and time of the closure so that appropriate arrangements can be made (such as notifying emergency services). About six weeks' notice is typically required to establish a temporary traffic regulation order.
If the council requests further information, they may reach out to event organizers; nonetheless, they are expected to adopt a lenient approach. Should your council demand an excessive amount of information that complicates the process for you, consider challenging their request.
Alternatively, if you wish to keep the road accessible, you have the option to organize a gathering or a 'Street Meet' on private premises, such as a driveway or front garden, without the need to complete council forms. If your plans may obstruct or disrupt, residents should consult their council. Many Big Lunch neighborly get-togethers take place without road closures - you can request a complimentary package containing numerous ideas and suggestions here.
Debunked Claim 4: Mandatory Fee for Road ClosuresCouncils have the authorization to charge a fee for arranging a traffic regulation order for a road closure; however, it is not obligatory, and they are encouraged not to enforce one. If your council imposes a fee, you have the right to question the charges and ensure they are reasonable.
Debunked Claim 5: Road Closure Requests Cannot Be Made LateWhile some councils implement deadlines to assist with their workload, it is important to note that there are no legally mandated deadlines. If these deadlines seem unreasonable, feel free to request flexibility from your council. If closing the road is not feasible or desirable, you could plan a smaller Street Meet at short notice (refer to Myth 3 above).
Debunked Claim 6: Costly Investment in Road Signs Is NecessaryCertain local councils offer loaned signs and cones, or you can choose to rent or purchase them. Both the Street Party and The Big Lunch websites provide guidance on road closures.
Debunked Claim 7: Expensive Insurance Is RequiredThe central government does not require public liability insurance. While numerous councils do not impose this requirement, you are entitled to challenge those that do.
Should you consider insurance a prudent measure, explore the advice provided on the Street Party website and The Big Lunch website and compare options. Costs vary depending on the desired level of coverage and the number of attendees, but expenses can be divided among households or covered through donations.
Debunked Claim 8: A Food License Is MandatoryThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) has clarified that one-time events like street parties are generally not considered food businesses, hence there is no need to complete any forms. However, it is vital to ensure that any food provided is safe for consumption.
The FSA website offers further guidance regarding the provision of safe food at street parties and other community events.
Disproving Myth 9: Licensing Requirements for Raffles and Lotteries
Contrary to popular belief, acquiring a license is not necessary to organize a raffle or lottery for either commercial or non-commercial purposes. Such events are considered incidental lotteries and hence exempt from licensing obligations. This umbrella covers a wide range of opportunities, including raffles, sweepstakes, and tombolas. It is important to note that if you are planning to conduct an "incidental" lottery, several conditions must be met in order to qualify. These conditions include the lottery not being a regular occurrence, not serving as the focal point of the event, and being intended for charitable purposes rather than personal profit. Additionally, it is mandatory for ticket sales to take place exclusively at the event itself, with prizes unable to be carried over to future events.
In terms of eligibility, individuals of all age groups, including children, are allowed to participate in this type of lottery. However, there are financial limitations that must be adhered to; specifically, deductions from the proceeds of the lottery for organizational expenses are restricted to a maximum of £100 (covering expenses like ticket printing). Moreover, the expenditure on prizes, excluding donated ones, cannot exceed £500.
For further guidance on organizing a lottery, the Gambling Commission's website provides comprehensive information. Simply visit this link.
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