Street parties

Organising a street party

Harlow Council wants to make it as easy as possible for residents to hold a street party for national and local occasions. The following is useful information and advice to help you plan your event.

Street parties usually:

  • are for residents/neighbours only;
  • are publicised only to local residents;
  • are held in a quiet residential road or street;
  • self-organised;
  • don’t require insurance (but it is your responsibility to check this out);
  • don’t require a formal risk assessment;
  • don’t require licences unless the sale of alcohol is involved or you plan to charge for entry or entertainment.

When organising an event consideration should always be given to the organisers safety and the safety of others attending the event. If you are in doubt about whether something is safe or not you should seek appropriate advice and guidance before going ahead.

Will we need an entertainment licence'?

The Licensing Act 2003 does not require a licence at a private event for entertainment, provided that no charge is being made other than to cover the cost of performers etc. You will only need a licence if you plan to sell alcohol, charge for music and dancing in order to make money or if you hold an event open to the public.

Do we need Public Liability Insurance?

For local roads, once all residents have been informed, it is not considered essential for public liability insurance to be taken out. If organisers are concerned about this, the Streets Alive website has some really good tips.

Do we need a licence if we are serving food?

You do not need one for an ordinary street party where food and drink is not being sold. However, when you're making food for large numbers of people, it's important to keep food safe. Some general practical tips on food safety can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

Lightwieght buntingDo I need permission to put up bunting?

A street party isn't a street party without bunting and Harlow Council does not need to give permission for ordinary lightweight bunting. It can be hung from windows, trees, lamp columns or guttering. However please consider your own health and safety risks when putting up bunting and ensure it is taken down after your event.

How do I close the road?

Nearly all roads in Harlow are Adopted Public Highways. If you would like to close a public highway in Harlow you will need to apply through Essex Highways by completing an application form. This can be downloaded from Essex Highways website. Essex Highways main involvement is to help you close the road legally and safely.

A few roads are not Adopted Public Highway: some are privately owned, and some are managed by Harlow Council. If you would like to close a road that is not an Adopted Public Highway, you will need to contact the private owner or Harlow Council for it to be closed.

To find out if a road/street in Harlow is private please visit: Essex County Council website - who is responsible for my road?

The Big Lunch 2017

The Big Lunch is an idea from the Eden Project with the aim of getting as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours annually on the first Sunday in June in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of community across the UK. Last year 3.65 million people took to their streets, gardens and community spaces for the fifth annual Big Lunch. The next Big Lunch will take place on Sunday 4 June 2017.

A Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown street party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.

You can request a Big Lunch pack using The Big Lunch website