Headlines: August 2nd, 2010

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said he wants to streamline the process for setting up a street party.

He also plans to make the process consistent across local council areas, ensuring all local authorities use the same rules and procedures.

Mr Pickles described summer fetes and street parties as a great British tradition, but suggested that it could be lost to “overbearing bureaucracy”.

He said: “It’s like a red tape tombola for organisers depending on which council is processing their application. Of course we want people to be safe and sound but common sense has to prevail. People are being turned off getting involved due to a merry go round of forms, rules that differ from one council to the next, time and expense.”

Currently, organisers may need paperwork for road closures, risk assessments, and temporary event notices, with councils charging a range of fees. And it can often take weeks and cost thousands of pounds for councils trying to process these applications, which the minister says can deter both councils and organisers from putting on events.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has examples of local communities having to apply for up to five separate licences, pay up to £5000 for a temporary road closure and obtain insurance cover for £2million for a typical outdoor event.

The aim now is to work across government to produce a good practice guide to shape councils’ approach, charges and use of regulations, as well as making sure event organisers get easy information on what they need to do, and advice on public liability insurance and any other costs.