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Holding a community street party or fête

Small, private street parties and fêtes are simple to organise, and generally do not include activities that need a licence, such as selling alcohol, or providing certain types of entertainment.

A street party or fête is different from a large public event in the following ways:

  • It is for residents and neighbours only
  • Any publicity is aimed at residents only
  • It is self-organised
  • It involves closing residential roads only
  • Public Liability insurance is optional, but recommended. The organiser must accept responsibility for possible claims if they don't have it

If your event falls outside this definition, then you will need to look at our page on How to organise a successful event.

Organising a street party or fête

You will need to start your planning as early as possible, and contact our Event Office, so they can advise you on the best way to proceed. It's worth drawing up a timetable with a budget, key times and details of who the organisers of the event will be. If you don't know all the details of your event yet, you can just give us an idea of what you'd like to do.

Select a topic below, to find out more about the things you may need to plan for.

Closing a road

If you want to close a road to hold your street party or fête, you will need to consult everyone who lives in a house or runs a business that will be affected by the road closure. It is the responsibility of the organisers to make sure those affected are aware of the proposals and are happy with them.

For further information on road closures or to apply, contact the Traffic and Safety Team.

If your waste and recycling collections are on the same day as the street party, they may not be able to take place if the road will be blocked before the collectors arrive. You will need to contact our Waste team to agree alternative arrangements for all the residents who will be affected. As the event organiser, you will need to let the affected residents know about the changes.

Public safety and public liability insurance

Event organisers should ensure that they have a named person responsible for public safety, because if something goes wrong, then there is always the potential for injured parties to seek compensation.

You may not feel that insurance is necessary for a street event, however we would always recommend having public liability insurance when organising a public event. An amount of £5million can be easily arranged through most insurance companies, and should cover almost any eventuality, if things go seriously wrong.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm to people at your event. This allows you to weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions, or should do more to prevent harm. Visitors, volunteers, workers, and others have a right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures.

A hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as the following:

  • chemicals
  • electricity
  • working at height
  • trailing cables
  • vehicles
  • animals

The risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

First aid

It is up to you what arrangements you want to make for first aid. Consider having a basic first aid kit handy and nominating someone to be in charge of it. They don't need to be professionally trained but some basic knowledge of first aid would be useful. Volunteering for a role like this doesn't impose any special legal responsibility on a person - they are treated in the same way as any 'good Samaritan' would be if they came to a person's aid.

Licences and permits

For small community street parties and events, licences will not normally be required if music is incidental and no alcohol is being sold. You don’t need special permission to serve food, unless you’re serving after 11pm. Our Food Safety team has produced some guidance for catering at events.

You don’t need a licence to hold a raffle, as long as you only sell the raffle tickets during the event, and the value of the prizes doesn’t exceed £500. If you want to sell tickets before the event, or your prizes are worth more than £500, contact the Licensing Team by email or by calling 01225 47 75 31.

Clearing up after your event

All waste produced at an event is subject to strict regulation. When organising an event, you must ensure that litter and waste is removed from the site at the end. Where possible, get people to take their waste home with them. You could arrange for a member of the organising team to take separated bags to recycle at one of our recycling centres.