Traffic Management

Local street parties and fetes

This guide will help you organise your party so it meets basic legal requirements – and leave you free to enjoy the day.


Street parties have a long history and are a great British tradition. There is no better way for people to get to know their neighbours and meet members of their community than by holding an event on their doorstep.

These guidelines have been written to assist those residents who wish to organise a small street party and/or fete for their neighbours.  It is not intended for large public events or events where traffic other than the local residents, will be affected.   

If you are unsure whether the event you are planning falls within the scope of a small local event, this table will help:

Small scale event –  for example street parties and fetes affecting the public highway:

Larger public events affecting the public highway:

Usually for residents/neighbours only

(less than 500 people)

Anyone can attend. (But could also be a larger, residents only, gathering).

Only residents’ traffic will be affected, for example closes, cul-de-sacs. No bus routes or through traffic affected

Through traffic affected (for example bus routes)

Diversionary routes will not be necessary for any road closures

Road closures are likely to require diversionary routes

Publicity only to residents

External publicity (such as in newspapers)

No licences normally necessary if music incidental and no selling is involved

Licence usually needed – especially if you are planning a fireworks display, entertainment is provided or alcohol is sold, or where food is provided late at night – (check with local District Council).

No liability insurance required for road closures by County Council as Highways Authority (but you may wish to consider opting for insurance cover to protect your interests)

Liability insurance needed for road closures, usually £10 million, however if the event is risk assessed and a valid traffic management plan is prepared then this may be reduced to £5 million.

No formal risk assessment needed

Risk assessment and event/traffic plan usually required


Usually arranged by professional/skilled organisers

Large scale events affecting the public highway

If your event falls into the category of a larger public event affecting the public highway then it will need to be carefully planned. Such events give rise to a greater risk of traffic congestion and the safety of those attending the event and those passing by, whether a road closure is required or not.

Please check our webpages  for advice on planning the traffic aspects of such an event:

You will also need to contact your local district, city or borough council to determine the need for other formal licences or requirements.

Where road closures are required for such events an indemnity and evidence of public liability insurance of £10 million is usually required.

This may be reduced to £5 million if the applicant can prove that they have taken all reasonable steps to minimise risks to traffic. Road closure applications for such events may take several weeks or months to process and you should contact your local council to find out how much time is required.

Safety at major events

The County Council's Emergency Planning offers safety guidance for planning major events, but this will not all be relevant for street parties and other small scale events.

Small scale events eg. street parties

If your event falls into the category of a small scale event then first please check that the date of your intended event does not clash with any other events in your area. Let your local district, city or borough council know early on about your plans and they will be able to advise you. Safety is their prime concern and they will do their very best to advise you so that your party can go ahead.

Remember, if two or more events are held at the same time in a local area they can cause traffic problems so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and check in advance.

Bunting, banners and decorative flags

Bunting, banners and flags are a traditional feature of street parties. Hampshire County Council is legally obliged to manage anything hanging over the road for the purposes of safety.

However, for street parties for national events such as the Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee the County Council has reduced the ‘red tape’ associated with this process. As long as the road is closed to traffic and the event is a ‘small scale event’ as described above, then; no bunting license is required, no public liability insurance is required and there is no fee for the processing of your notice to decorate your street.

All we would ask is that you tell us of your plans so we can be certain that there is someone responsible to remove the bunting before the road is opened. To help you inform us please use the online form:

For small scale events, like street parties, the requirement for public liability insurance has been waived and there is no charge for processing the licence.

When erecting bunting banners or flags please take safety precautions:

  • Do not erect them where they will block access or sight lines
  • Ensure that what you are attaching them to is solid and secure
  • Never attach them to power or telephone cables
  • If you are attaching them to private property you must obtain permission from the property owner
  • When attaching to lamp posts and signs please avoid obscuring the sign or damaging the protective paintwork.

Temporary road closures

If you are planning a street party or any other event on the public highway you will need a road closure order to cover its duration. This is absolutely essential, even if the road will be closed for just a few minutes. A temporary closure means that all vehicles are kept out – but the road is open to pedestrians.

Before applying for a closure you should;

  • Check that the residents in the street are happy with the proposed event
  • Plan the event to avoid times when your bins are due to be emptied
  • Plan the event to avoid damage to the road or footway
  • Consider what you would need to do to allow easy access for emergency vehicles in the case of an accident or fire
  • Plan how you will clean the street after the party.

Applying for a road closure for your street party

Road closures for street parties are handled by your appropriate district, city or borough council using their own legal powers. Please contact them for a closure form and details of any special requirements they may have. There may be a nominal charge to cover administration and legal costs.

Please contact your appropriate district, city or borough council for a closure form and details of any special requirements they may have. There may be a nominal charge to cover administration and legal costs.

Road closure applications take time to be approved and you should check with your local council how long they need to process your application. It may be up to six weeks, especially if there are a number of applications for the same day.

Once the local council has received your application, they will usually:

  • Check that you have consulted with all the residents and provided proof that the majority support the proposal
  • Provide advice regarding traffic impact or additional precautions that might be needed
  • Advise the police, emergency services and the Highway Authority of the application. This will help ensure that your event will not be disturbed by planned road works and that emergency services are aware in case of an incident
  • They may also wish to see what plans you have made for emergency access.


The County Council as Highways Authority for the area does not require organisers to hold public liability insurance for small scale events. However you may wish to consider opting for insurance cover to protect your interests. Local district, city or borough council may require public liability insurance in exceptional circumstances.


This is a matter of common sense. As organisers you will want those involved to take common sense precautions so that they don’t injure themselves or others, for example when hanging bunting, during the set up and clearing away, serving hot food around young children etc.

The County Council does not require a formal risk assessment for small scale events, but again you will need to check with your local council.

You may want to consider listing the things that could well go wrong and what you could do about them, as part of your planning process.

Helpful websites


Road closures must be signed correctly for the safety of the event participants and those passing by.