Many people across the UK will be celebrating with a fun-filled street party but what do you need to consider in preparation for the big day?
Here are some of the important factors when it comes to organising your street party, according to Jennifer Cellupica at DAS Law.
What permits/approvals do I need to close my road and hold a street party?
Street parties can be better if the road is closed as more people may join in and it would be safer if there is no traffic for the day. If you wish to close your road, you will need to contact your local council around 4 – 12 weeks prior to your event to obtain permission, so if you haven’t done so already – it’s a bit late!
If you live on a quiet road that does not affect the wider network, your local council may waive the need to get permission to close it. However, local councils’ processes may differ from area to area so it is always worth double checking with your council.
Your first point of contact could be either the council’s highways, licensing, events or communities team. If you encounter any difficulties speak to your local councillor who will be happy to help.
What are the rules regarding drinking alcohol in a street party? Do I need a permit or licence from the local council?
If you are looking to serve alcohol for free or give alcohol away as prizes, for example in a raffle, then you do not need a license. In order to sell alcohol, you will need to apply for a ‘temporary events notice’ from your local council (a fee will apply).
You will need to bear in mind however, that the police could intervene in the presence of anti-social behaviour as a result of alcohol consumption and you can be stopped, fined or arrested by police if you are under 18 and drinking alcohol in public or if you are found to be purchasing for or providing alcohol to a minor.
The Anti-Social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 defines anti-social behaviour as:
Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person
Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises
Conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person
Do I need permission from all my neighbours to hold a street party? If just one neighbour objects to the party, does that mean the party cannot go ahead?
It is always a good idea to notify your neighbours and anyone who the party may affect, for example other local residents or local businesses, about your plans to organise a street party.
You could hold a street meeting with all the neighbours prior to organising the event in order to make sure everyone is happy for the event to go ahead and to allocate jobs to those who would like to get involved in organising the party.It is always better to keep a good relationship with your neighbours but it would be a shame if one person spoils the fun for everyone else.
Is there a particular time any music will have to stop?
Generally speaking, no. However, the Noise Act 1996 defines a maximum amount of noise which is acceptable between the hours of 11pm and 7am and when noise exceeds the permitted level, the local authority are able to investigate and even take action against the source of the noise following a report of the noise or complaint.
In order to err on the side of caution, it may be best to stop the music between 11pm and 7am.
It is worth mentioning that the law covers any noise, not just music so if people are making a lot of noise in the street after 11pm or before 7pm, for example shouting or speaking loudly, the local authority could still take action against the person/ people making the noise following a complaint. Local Authorities likely prefer to rely on the Noise Act 1996 as they can serve a notice to stop the noise immediately following a complaint and investigation.
Do I need any special insurance for activities such as bouncy castles and play areas etc?
You don’t need to have a special insurance for these types of activities. However, it is always best to ask for the details of any liability insurance of the companies or people providing any activities just in case someone is injured whilst enjoying the activities.
Could I be held legally liable if anyone is injured at the party or causes damage to public property?
In order for you to be held liable if anyone sustains an injury at your party, they would need to prove that you have been negligent in some way. There are three elements of negligence that would need to be evidenced. That you have a duty of care to the person, you have breached that duty of care and your breach has caused the injury.
In England and Wales, a parent or carer are not generally held liable for the injury of a child in their care unless they have been negligent in allowing the child to do something which could cause an injury or failure to prevent the child from doing something that could cause them injury.
Generally speaking, if someone causes damage to public property, the same as above applies. The person that has caused the damage would usually be liable for their actions. However, as above, if a child is in your care and they damage public property, you could be held liable in certain circumstances and this would depend on the specific circumstances in which the damage has occurred.