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Street parties

This useful guide is intended to help neighbours, residents' associations or community groups to plan a street party.

Apply to hold a street party

What is a street party?

Street parties are get togethers that groups of residents arrange for their neighbours. The main differences between a small street party and larger public events are listed below:

Street parties

Larger public events

For residents/neighbours onlyAnyone can attend
Advertised only to residentsAdvertised widely (such as newspapers)
No licences normally necessary if music is incidental and no selling of alcohol is involvedLicence usually needed
No formal risk assessment needed, unless a road closure is requiredRisk assessment common
Self-organisedProfessional/skilled organisers

Who you need to speak to

Organising small, private street parties is very simple and generally does not include activities that need a licence, such as selling alcohol or providing certain types of entertainment.

If you want to have a pay bar or intend to provide entertainment to the wider public, or charge to raise money for your event, you will need a Temporary Events Notice which is a type of temporary licence. You can find out more about this on our licensing pages.

Similarly, larger public events attracting more people will require a different process. If you need a Temporary Events Notice or would like to hold a larger public event, please visit our hire of open spaces pages.

Frequently asked questions and checklist

Do I need to close my street?

If you do want to close your street you can request this as part of our online application form for street parties. Its best to do this as early as possible as some councils require a lot of notice for road closures.

If you require a road closure for a reason other than a street party please visit the Surrey County Council website.

Will I need to put up road closure signage, and if so what type?

If the event is is a cul-de-sac or no through road, then a road closed sign should be displayed, as shown in the picture.

If no such sign is displayed, the closure is not enforceable. Surrey Highways only have a small stock of such signs, for their own road works and emergencies. Some specialist traffic management companies may be able to supply signs, or they could be made up by advertising companies who can print onto corrugated plastic board.

If the application is for a through road, and/or a traffic diversion route is required, the applicants (or the Borough on their behalf), should consult Surrey County Council Highways for advice and agreement.

Do we need insurance cover?

Organisers should be aware that they incur certain legal liabilities and it is suggested that organisers should effect a policy of public liability insurance for an indemnity limit of £5m. This is the sole responsibility of the organisers and unfortunately the Council cannot be of assistance in this respect. If you do choose to get public liability insurance, you can find out about one-off event insurance by calling 0800 515 980

Do I need to do a risk assessment?

A. Most local authorities do not ask for a risk assessment for small street parties, but you may wish to think about how you can minimise things going wrong and have a back up plan, for example - what would you do if there was bad weather? Can you use plastic plates and cups rather than glass? Have you made sure an adult is in charge of the barbeque etc. There is a risk assessment template and guidance available should you wish to complete one.

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

No, an alcohol licence is 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 apply for a Temporary Events Notice.

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. However, it is a good idea to notify households living on or close to your street to let them know you are having a party and that music will be played. It's also a good idea to set a cut-off time when the music will be turned down or off.

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). Remember, you can always ask your neighbours to bake a cake, make a sandwich or bring food to share with one another. This is also a good way to bring different groups of people together.

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. Any proceeds from the tombola/raffle must go to a good cause such as charity or even cover the cost of your party.

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.

Can we put up bunting and decorations?

Advice on getting consent to put up bunting over or along the roadside can be found on the Surrey County Council website

Information on where you can purchase bunting and decorations can be found here.

More information

There are many other frequently asked questions answered on the streets alive website.

View the guide to organising a street party