Closing a road for a play street or street party event
Street parties and small community events
You don’t need permission or special insurance to host a street party, but you do need permission from the Council to close a road temporarily for any event.
There’s usually no problem in getting permission to close quiet residential streets or cul-de-sacs, but we are likely to refuse permission to close major routes such as A or B roads, bus routes, one-way streets, or anywhere we think by doing so will cause too much disruption to surrounding traffic or impede emergency services. We may also refuse permission if there is another event taking place nearby or scheduled road works.
Applications for street party road closures should be made at least 6 weeks before the event.
A street party should not be attended by more than 200 people, and should not be ticketed, it must not have commercial stalls or feature temporary structures like a stage or large marquee. If you wish to apply for a large commercial event instead of a street party please visit the Council events web page.
A Play Street is where a road is closed off to traffic for a few hours either as a one off or on a regular basis. The Play Street helps ensure children have a safe space to play in their neighbourhood.
The local community organise, manage and run the Play Streets. The Council can offer advice and can authorise the closure of the road to through traffic.
There are lots of benefits to having a Play Street on your road, including:
- allowing children to play close to home
- giving children the space to play safely
- increasing a sense of community by bringing neighbours together
- encouraging more activities to take place in the local area.
Applications for Play Street road closures should be made at least 6 weeks before the event.
Play Street safety
The extents of each Play Street should be very clearly marked out with road cones or barriers and volunteer marshals must ensure drivers are aware of the closure.
The events are organised and managed by the parents at a school or by residents who live on the road. It is important that parents supervise their own children throughout the event. Neighbours will get the chance to know each other better and it becomes easier to spot strangers and monitor their behaviour.
What is involved in your Play Street application?
Local parents and/or residents volunteer to plan and manage the closure from start to finish.
Volunteers must manage:
- putting the application proposal together and submitting it to the Council
- consulting with residents on the street before applying, to understand the level of interest and support
- submitting the application at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the event. Late applications may be considered, at the discretion of council officers.
- ensuring that the conditions of the application are adhered to such as organising a risk assessment and considering public liability insurance.
- managing the event on the day, setting up at the start using physical barriers to close the road and marshalling traffic at the closure points.
- cleaning up at the end of the event and reopening the road to traffic
- The road will be closed to traffic for the times granted on the street notice. Ideally the area should be kept as car-free as possible. If a resident needs to drive to and from their home, a volunteer must walk ahead of the moving vehicle to guide them slowly through the street.
Regular opportunities to organise a play street
We offer the following opportunities to run play streets or street parties, with the same application process and guidance notes applying to each:
- School Play Street (every summer): A school play street is a road closure for two to three hours at the end of the school day on a school road. The aim is to give children and parents an opportunity to reclaim the school street to stay and play with their friends in a safe environment. Chalk, games, and activities may be offered for children to use in the street. The school can choose the exact dates to suit their timetables.
- Special national events such as Car Free Day, Clean Air Day- for one off events. For example, London Car Free Day is an annual event normally taking place in September. It is a free event where Londoners are encouraged to leave their car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport. Communities and schools are also invited to run street parties on their road.
- One off play streets or street parties. An opportunity for a community to come together to socialise on an ad hoc basis.
- Regular play streets (monthly closures throughout the year): Some play streets started as a one off event, but have now become a regular activity. There are some local groups that hold a play street monthly. Whilst we support this initiative, regular play streets require a much higher level of commitment from volunteers. However, once the initial paperwork has been completed it is far easier to make them regular events, with more neighbours becoming interested and supporting you to manage the workload.