Last updated: 17 July 2023
Next review: 8 April 2024
Street parties and play streets offer a great opportunity to meet your neighbours and experience your local area with reduced vehicles and improve air quality. Waltham Forest Council encourages these however it is important we ensure they’re both safe and legal.
What is the difference between a street party and play street?
Street parties are one-off or annual events organised by residents. They are traditionally hosted on national days of celebration or for events such as jumble trails. However, a street party can be thrown simply to close the road to through traffic so children can play out, to bring neighbours together, or for a community event.
A street party must meet the below criteria:
- Fewer than 200 guests invited
- All attendees are associated with the immediate area
- No alcohol will be on sale. It is okay to serve alcohol free of charge. If you want to sell alcohol, you need a Temporary Event Notice
- No formal entertainment (music from a stereo or speaker is acceptable as long as you do not disturb others in the community)
- No tickets are sold for the event
- No food or other merchandise will be on sale (but it is fine to bring food to share with your neighbours)
- No temporary structures, for example, stages or marquees. Small pop-up gazebos or sunshades are acceptable, but please make sure they will not blow away and cause injury to others.
Play streets are a free resident and community led initiative to enable children to play freely and safely in the street close to their home. Play street sessions are regular closures that can be held weekly or monthly. The street is closed to through traffic during play street sessions but open for resident access and emergency services access.
To host a play street (regular road closure session) we recommend that you must first host a street party.
How to host a street party?
- Closures are not possible on main roads or on streets which include bus routes, they will only be agreed in locations where alternative vehicle access routes are available.
- Residents should consult with their neighbours to ensure there is support for their event, before applying to the council.
- Once you have consulted with your neighbours and gained support for your Street Party or Play Street please download the guidance and fill in the application form.
- Once you have read through the guidance and completed the application form please send to email@example.com
If your street party is a success and you would like to host a regular play street please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can get further information and discuss with the Sustainable Transport Team about how they can support your play street.
Hosting your street party safely and legally
- The Council will consult/inform Police and Emergency Services; refuse/recycling; parking enforcement and other affected public services which may be affected by road closures.
- The closure must be made using easily removable barriers and/or traffic cones. These can be obtained from the Council or homemade provided they are of the specified sizes and colours. For more information visit the Street Party Website.
Ideas on how to make you street party stand out
- Dedicate your street party to a national day. For example, World car free day (September), national holidays, or celebrations.
- Organise a community picnic or buffet: ensure you follow food hygiene rules.
Share your street parties and play streets with us!
Frequently asked questions
Do I need an alcohol licence?
An alcohol licence is only required if alcohol is sold. You do not need a licence to share drinks with your neighbours at a private party. If you want to sell alcohol, you need a Temporary Event Notice .
Do I need an entertaining licence to play music?
You can play live or recorded music. You do not need a licence, if
- Your street party is a private party for residents
- Music is not advertised in advance to attract people
- You are not making money.
You will be responsible to ensure that music is kept to a reasonable level. Any additional lighting that the party uses must not be run off of the street lighting electricity supply.
Do I need a permit to serve food?
You do not need a licence to sell food at a private party unless you want to only sell hot food and drink after 11pm.
If you use barbeques, they must be placed and used on private forecourts and gardens.
Do I need permission to have a tombola or raffle?
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, you will need a lottery registration and should email email@example.com.
Any proceeds from the tombola or raffle must go to a good cause such as charity or to cover the cost of your party.
Do I need to clean up afterwards?
Yes, you are responsible for the clearance of litter and residue from the party. Let people know in advance what time the party will finish and set aside space for bin bags and recycling.
Do I need to carry out a risk assessment?
Whilst a formal assessment is not required, you should think about minimising any risks from electricity, accidents, burns, damage, rain, breakages and so on. You may also want to consider a back up plan in case things go wrong e.g. What would you do if there was bad weather? Ensure that an adult is always in charge of a barbeque, you can use plastic cups instead of glasses etc.
You will be responsible for the safety of the event. Agree in advance that everyone should take responsibility for themselves and watch out for each other, especially children. Note that bonfires must not be held on any part of the road including greens.