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Plan your private residents street party

Campaign Launched to Scrap Red Tape, Charges and Insurance for Street Parties

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12/01/2011 18:08:19

This campaign aims to open the whole country to be free to have street parties.

Streets Alive has joined with Sustrans, the Big Lunch, Living Streets and London Play to campaign to scrap red tape and charges for street parties.

Our street party site which has received a 500% surge in interest since the announcement of the wedding and are keen for this national occasion to get rid of obstructive council red tape, charges and insurance.

'We expect millions of residents will want to come together and follow the tradition of closing their road to hold street parties around the royal wedding this year, whether or not they are a royal fan. But if there are any costs residents will not be able to hold them, except a in some richer areas. It's a question of fairness.' Chris Gittins, Director, Streets Alive said.

'The Government and councils have this chance to decide whether or not they want street parties as a British tradition to held at all, for the royal wedding or at other times for the sake of building community spirit. If Bristol can do it with 120 held last year the rest of the country can.' Chris Gittins said.

A private street party is very different to a large public event, and yet they are often treated the same. We are urgently appealing for three small but crucial changes:

Firstly, we have jointly written to the Secretary of State for Transport appealing to withdraw its formal Advice on road closures which advises councils to advertise road closure orders in local papers resulting in impossible costs for residents of hundreds of pounds. Because of this, for example in London alone, at least 14 boroughs currently place adverts and charge.

Secondly, any charge for council officer time on traffic orders would also put residents off. If councils charge, none will be held and so there will be no revenue for them; if they do not charge there will be events.

Thirdly, public liability insurance costing £50 plus should not be required by councils for such small events and road closures, and there are questions about the validity of the insurance (see notes below).

Some councils may try to deal with these issues by covering the costs themselves just for the royal wedding weekend. But because of the early date of the wedding when it could be quite cold, and because it is just after the Easter break when quite a few people will be away, many residents may want to delay their street party until the summer.

Our campaign also urges local people to write to their local MPs to put pressure on the Department for Transport to drop this unnecessary red tape permanently, not just for the Royal Wedding.

INFORMATION TO EDITORS

1. Streets Alive is a national group promoting street parties across the UK to encourage neighbourliness and community spirit.

2. We expect residents to hold street parties whether or not they are a royal fan, just for the sake of tradition. Most residents will not have applied to their council yet as it is mid-winter still!

3. Streets Alive worked closely last August with Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, when he wrote to all local authorities to reduce red tape for street parties. At that time DfT officials advised him that such adverts for road closures were not legally required. However, this statement contradicts the Government?s Advice which many councils are still quite reasonably unwilling to ignore. This is shown on the DfT's site regarding the Advice to Road Traffic Act in paragraph 14 line 5 here.

4. Charges for road closures are a post code lottery. The problems with this apply to many parts of the country like London where local police forces require the use of this problematic Road Traffic Act rather than the simpler Town & Police Clauses Act, like in Bristol.

5. Bristol is the Street Party Capital of the UK with 120 street parties held last year. This is possible because the council does not charge or require insurance.

6. Some councils normally charges as much as £3000, but councils may waive their fees just for the royal wedding, but many may be held later in the summer or in later years, and the costs of the advert is a waste of public money anyway.

7. Details about Pubic Liability Insurance for street parties is here

8. We estimate that up to half a million residents would otherwise be prevented from joining in the tradition of street parties being held for the royal wedding in April because of this red tape and charges.


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