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The entertainment & event management directory

Master Class

Organising an Event - Part 5

Part 5:

Can I close a road?

Closing a quiet street for a small community event, such as a street party, is easier than a lot of people think:

  • it is common and legal for streets to be used for social events and it is reasonable for you to expect your local highway authority to be helpful
  • all your council needs is a few weeks advance notice of where and when the closure (most councils only need 4 to 6 weeks) will take place so they can plan around it (for example, so they can let the emergency services know) and put in place a traffic regulation order
  • check early so that you know what your council’s process is; some councils have set deadlines to help them manage their work, but there are no deadlines in law, so if they look unreasonable ask your council to be flexible
  • the law also does not require a fee to be charged for a road closure; if your council, or its agency, is making a charge, you have every right to question what it is for and to ask the council to cover the cost for social benefit
  • if your council really needs more information, they will contact you, but they are expected to take a ‘light touch’ approach - if you are asked for excessive information, you can challenge the request
  • some councils will lend you road signs and cones, or you can hire or buy metal signs locally

Find out more about planning street parties by following the specialist guide linked to in Part 7.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of closing a street, you can organise a street meet/gathering on private land (with the landowner’s permission), such as a driveway or front garden, without any requirement to fill in council forms. Streets Alive has guidance about how to go about it.

For a larger scale event or for proposals to close a busy or main road you should contact your council as soon as possible, and at least several months in advance, to ensure there is enough time for your proposal to be properly considered by the highway authority and the police.

Go to Part 6 of Organising a Community/Voluntary Event