Skip header

Frequently Asked Questions - street parties

Can I have a party in the street?

Yes it may be possible to hold a party in the street depending on how much traffic uses the street and whether the traffic can use another route.

However, if possible your party may be better held off the road, so if there is a piece of land, such as a privately owned field or garden this should be used in preference. If it is private land, you will however need the permission of whoever owns the land to use it. 

If the land you wish to use is Council owned, you will need to contact the Council on 0191 424 7244.

Do we need a 'special event' traffic regulation order?

The Council will need to consider whether it can make an order to close your road for the street party as a special event. Generally there may be problems having a party on main roads, bus routes, main access roads, or roads with a speed limit greater than 30 mph.

Before notifying the Council of your plans, you will need to consider who would be affected by any road closure that may be needed for your party:

  • is your road used by residents and visitors to your street only or is it a through road for other traffic?  
  • are there any businesses in the wider area that use your road for access?
  • are there any bus routes affected by the road that would be closed for your street party? If so, then usually it will not be possible to close your road
  • how will emergency vehicles get access during your street party? In the interest of safety you need to make sure that roads are accessible at all times for all emergency vehicles
  • how will people know the road has been closed off - have you thought about barriers/diversion signs you will need to put in place? If not, you can speak to the council or check with Streets Alive who will be able to help you with how to arrange street signs

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order will be posted on site 14 days prior to the start of the event. This will be organised by the Council at no cost to the Party Organiser.

Any Police Officer has the absolute authority to require the reopening of a road in the event of an emergency, regardless of any road closure order that may be in force. This authority extends to the situation where a Police Officer fears for public disorder.

Do we need insurance cover?

You should consider taking out public liability insurance cover for your party as this should then cover you were there to be any damage or injuries as a result of your party. Further advice on insurance is available on Streets Alive and The Big Lunch. The costs can always be split between residents, or you could hold a raffle or ask for donations to cover the costs. Quotes for insurance start from as little as £50.

We're serving alcoholic drinks - do we need an alcohol licence?

No, licences are only required if alcohol is sold. At a private party, sharing drinks with your neighbours does not require a licence.

If you did want to sell alcohol, you will need to contact the Licensing Team at the Council for a Temporary Event Notice form. This form costs £21. Please telephone 0191 424 7949 for this form.

We're playing music - do we need an entertainment licence?

No - if your street party is a private party for residents and the music is not advertised in advance to attract people, and you're not making money then there is no need for a licence for your music, whether it's live or recorded. You should however consider nearby residents who may not be involved in the party to make sure that any music or entertainment is not too loud or going on too late so that you don't cause noise nuisance. 

Do we need a permit to serve food?

No - as a private party, you do not need a licence under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell food (unless you wanted to only sell hot food and drink after 11pm).

If it is intended that food will be sold at a street party then it is important that the food is prepared in a safe and hygienic manner. A person that wishes to supply or sell food may need to register as a food business. For further information please contact the Council's Food Safety Team on 0191 424 7907/7925

For general guidance on catering for parties and events please visit Food Standards Agency

It is recommended that if neighbours are preparing the food that it should be thoroughly cooked and cooled as quickly as possible. Food should then be kept in refrigerators until as late as possible before your party. Keep food covered on the tables to avoid contamination by flies, gulls or any other food pests.

We're having a tombola/raffle - do we need permission?

Probably not. If the tombola/raffle tickets are sold on the day and the prizes are not worth more than £500 in total then it will be exempt from gambling regulations (however, if tickets are sold in advance of the event, you will need a lottery registration but do speak to your council first).

Any proceeds from the tombola/raffle must go to a good cause such as a charity or even covering the cost of your party. Alternatively, if you did want to raise some money for your local church or charity, you can always ask for donations.

Do we need to clean up afterwards?

Yes, you will need to clean up after your street party. It's your street, your party, so keep your local area clean and tidy.

Let people know in advance what time the party will finish and have a section set aside for bin bags and recycling.

Do I need to do a risk assessment?

Although there is no legal requirement to provide risk assessments for a private street party, the Council needs to be satisfied that you are addressing any significant risk resulting from your event.  You should therefore think about how you can minimise things going wrong and have a back up plan, for example:

  • what would you do if the weather was bad?
  • can you use plastic plates and cups rather than glass to avoid risk of injury?
  • have you made sure an adult is in charge of the barbeque and that children are not going to be able to come into contact with any hot surfaces etc.?
  • how will you manage a casualty, i.e. are there any first aiders and what are your arrangements for contacting the Emergency Services?
  • are you going to allow, and if so, how are you going to manage any traffic movement during the event to avoid any damage or injury?
  • are you going to have any Inflatable (Bouncy Castles), tents or gazebos and how are you going to make sure they are erected and dismantled safely and manage use of them to ensure no-one is hurt?
  • are there any sources of power to be used i.e. electrical, gas where extra care will be needed? If you are using any electrical equipment ensure it is in good condition, and suitable for outdoor use. Try and lay cable so they are not a tripping hazard.
  • if you are using electrical equipment, is it in good condition and suitable for outdoor use? How will you make sure people don't trip over electrical cables?
  • will there be people to clean up as you go to make sure that rubbish build up doesn not become a fire hazard, and spilt food doesn't cause slips.
  • if you are using a generator, how will you store the petrol safely and securely?

Where can we get advice on the use of bouncy castles or inflatables?

ROSPA provides advice on the safe use of bouncy castles and other inflatables

How would you rate the information on this page?

Share this page