Shropshire Council

Guide to organising a street party or fete

What is a street party?

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

Differences between street parties and public events

Street party

Public event (temporary event notice required)

For residents and surrounding neighbours Anyone can attend
Publicity only for residents External publicity (such as online or posters)
In a house or garden, local green space, or a quiet residential road In a public building or park
Providing your own food Hot foot and drinks served after 11pm
No sale of alcohol Sale of alcohol
No live music Live music
No entrance fee Entrance fee
Selling tickets for a raffle for a charity or good cause on the day and your prizes are less than £500 Selling raffle tickets in advance

What you need to do

Organising small, private street parties and fetes is very simple and generally doesn't include activities that need a licence, such as selling alcohol or providing certain types of entertainment. To apply to have a road closed for a street party, please complete our application to close a public highway for a street party form.

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'll need one of the following licences:

  • For events where up to 499 people will be attending, where alcohol will be sold or there's a publicised programme of entertainment, a temporary events notice is required
  • For events where 500 or more people are attending, a temporary premises licence is required.

Further information

The top tip for holding a party is to plan early. For more tips and advice on organising a successful street party, take a look at our guide and the Streets Alive and Big Lunch websites.

Remember the emergency services

An emergency can happen at any time and may involve a premises within the street, but not part of the street party.

Some, mainly business, premises are on autodial to alarm receiving centres so you may not be aware that we're on our way to an automatic fire alarm in your street and need access.

As the event organiser(s), you need to be aware of this possibility and maildrop all businesses, flats and homes on your street so that they're aware of the street closure and your street party.

FAQs and checklist

On the day

  • Ensure the road closure signs or barriers used to close the street are easily moveable to allow quick access for attending fire or other emergency services
  • Consider using easily moveable wheelie bins. Don't park vehicles across the street
  • Don't block the road with large obstacles, such as heavy tables or large gazebos that require time to dismantle or move
  • Ensure any vehicles are moved out of the street to give more room for the street party, but in doing so don't block access to neighbouring premises or streets
  • A fire appliance will need at least a 3.5m width to pass through any obstacle or street
  • Don't block or cover over fire hydrants

Do we need insurance cover?
If you're organising a small residential street party, you could be exposed to a liability claim, so we would recommend that you to take out some form of public liability insurance. Quotes for insurance start from as little as £50. The costs can always be split between residents, or you could hold a raffle or ask for donations to cover the costs.

Do we need a risk assessment?
We'd expect a risk plan to be in place for larger events. However, even for small street parties you may wish to consider how you can minimise the chance of things going wrong, and have a back up plan. For example - what would you do in the event of bad weather? Can you use plastic cups rather than glass?

We're serving alcoholic drinks - do we need an alcohol licence?
Licences are only required if alcohol is sold. At a private party, sharing drinks with your neighbours doesn't require a licence. If you do intend to sell alcohol, you'll need to contact your council for a temporary events notice, or a temporary premises licence, depending on the size of the event.

Can we charge for entry to our event?
You can charge for entry, but an event where alcohol or entertainment are included would require a licence as above.

We're playing music - do we need an entertainment licence?
If your street party is a private party for residents, the music isn't advertised in advance to attract people and you're not making money, then there's no need for a licence for your music, whether it's live or recorded. However, if the event includes a publicised programme of performances, a licence would be required. Please remember to be considerate of any neighbours who may not be attending the event.

Do we need a permit to serve food?
As a private party, you don't need a licence under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell food (unless you intend to only sell hot food and drink after 11pm).

We're having a tombola/raffle - do we need permission?
If the tombola/raffle tickets are sold on the day, and the prizes aren't 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'll need a lottery registration. Any proceeds from the tombola/raffle must go to a good cause, such as a charity or even to cover the cost of your party. Alternatively, if you wish 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'll need to clean up after your street party. It's your street and 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.

Will we need to provide signs and barriers?
Yes, the organisers will need to ensure that signs are in position to indicate to drivers that the road is closed. Please note that signs, barriers and cones will need to be provided by the organiser, and won't be provided by the council.

We hope this guidance has made things easier for you. Good luck with your event!