How to hold a street party
On this page you will find information on:
- small non-commercial events, such street parties
- larger or commercial events
- events in parks and green spaces
- promoting or finding an event in Hackney
- other Hackney venues
If you want to hold a small, non-commercial street party or community event you do not need permission from the Council or any special insurance - but you do need our help to close a road, which we can do for you free of charge. Please read on for more guidance and helpful tips for holding a street party.
A small, non-commercial street party must meet the following criteria:
1. Fewer than 200 guests invited
2. All guests are associated with the immediate vicinity
3. No alcohol will be on sale (it is okay to serve alcohol free of charge)
4. No formal entertainment (incidental entertainment such as music from a stereo is okay as long as you do not disturb others in the community)
5. No tickets are sold for the event
6. No food or other merchandise will be on sale (but it is fine to bring food to share with your neighbours)
7. No temporary structures (e.g. stages or marquees - we're not too worried about a small pop-up gazebo or sunshade, but do make sure they won't blow away and cause injury to others)
If you would like to close your road to hold a street party or community event, please download, complete and return the road closure application form (Word) to Suresh Prajapati by email or post.
Post: London Borough of Hackney, Health & Community Services, Streetscene (Traffic & Transportation), 1 Casterton Street, London, E8 1FB.
As long as your event meets all 7 of the criteria listed above you do not need to enclose any further information, nor do you need to comply with item 6 in the 'notes and conditions' relating to public liability insurance (please see below), although you may want to consider this, of which more below.
Please note that there is usually no problem obtaining permission to close quiet residential streets, but we are likely to refuse permission to close major routes (classed A and B roads), bus routes, or one-way streets where we think doing so will cause too much disruption to surrounding traffic or impede emergency vehicles. We may also refuse permission if there is another event taking place nearby.
Other things to think about
Hopefully your neighbours will all be chipping in to help with the party, but please remember that road closures and noise may affect people living nearby. Be considerate and please consult your neighbours about your plans. You can start the party whenever you like during the day but please be considerate of everyone when you plan your start and finish time. It is worth remembering that not everyone will be able to participate so you need to let them know what times you are planning to start and finish the party and take their comments into consideration. You may want to finish by 9pm minimising noise.
You can apply to suspend parking bays in the street where you want to hold your party, but this can be expensive - it may be better just to ask the local residents (who will presumably all be invited) to park somewhere else within the parking zone for the day.
Public Liability Insurance
You are not required to have insurance if your event meets the 7 criteria listed above, but it is not very expensive (typically between £50 - £100 depending on the number of guests) and you may want to consider taking it out for your own peace of mind.
The following companies provide insurance cover for street party events and would be happy to answer any questions you have:
- Event Assured: www.event-insurance-online.com
- Event Insurance Services: www.events-insurance.co.uk/pages/street-parties
Food and food hygiene
If you are serving food here are some quick and easy tips to help you prepare your food safely:
- Always store cooked foods above raw foods in the fridge to prevent drips and keep food in covered containers
- Defrost frozen meat and chicken thoroughly before cooking
- Keep hot food 'hot' and cold food 'cold'
- Pre-cook meats on the same day as they are to be eaten. This also applies to barbecues
- Don't leave food in the kitchen or outside for too long before it's eaten. Warm temperatures in the summer will assist bacteria growth
- Flies and insects can carry bacteria so always keep food covered
- Use a separate kitchen towel or disposable paper towels - don't wipe hands on a tea towel
And most importantly - always wash your hands before handling food.
Cleaning up afterwards
All events generate rubbish, so you need to have provisions in place for refuse collection and street cleaning. It is your responsibility to make sure this happens. It is a good idea to organise how you will do this in advance - make sure you have plenty of bin bags and let people know where they can put rubbish, and organise a small team of neighbours to help you clear up at the end of your party.
Alternatively Hackney's Waste Services will be happy to quote for these provisions for any prospective event.
Please tel 020 8356 6683 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free guidance and starter kits
If you want to hold a street party, the Big Lunch website is great place to get all the guidance, tips and free resources you need.
You can also join the growing number of Hackney residents who are running an annual Big Lunch in their area.
More helpful tips, advice and support for organising a successful event can be found on the Streets Alive website www.streetparty.org.uk
Or you can tel 020 8356 5211 or email email@example.com.
Do you want to organise an event which is:
- more than 200 people attending or
- promoted/advertised beyond the immediate vicinity or
- selling alcohol or
- features entertainment or
- is ticketed or
- selling food or other merchandise or
- features temporary structures (e.g. a stage or marquee)
Application forms and guidance
If any of the above criteria apply please complete and submit the commercial or large street party application form below to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you shortly to discuss the your event, and any licences or fees which may apply.
- Commercial or large street party application form (Word, 228KB)
- Commercial street party guidance (PDF, 1.2MB)
- Police consultation letter template (Word, 31KB)
- Risk assessment form (Word, 41KB)
Hackney Parks are a valuable resource for the local community. They are primarily used for local sporting activities, relaxation, social gatherings, education, dog walking, horticultural pursuits and provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
Community groups qualify for special rates for events in Hackney's parks. To find out more, and obtain a handy template to take you through all stages of an event planning process, check out our parks events page.
Hackney Council has an online What's On guide which allows residents to submit community events and activities for publication on our website. It's also a great tool for finding out what's on in your local community.
Hackney has lots of venues that are suitable for community events. You can search our Community Directory for suitable venues - religious buildings, community halls, or schools that might have a building you could use (just enter a relevant keyword into the search box to look for a venue).
A number of Hackney's libraries also have halls for hire - please see our library halls page for more information.
Page updated: 23 Dec 2015