Royal street party fever to grips nation once more
- Published on Friday, 20 January 2012 10:18
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Royal street party fever looks set to sweep the nation again this summer as revellers start planning their Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations
Based on the current groundswell of public interest, it's expected the number of street parties held over the June weekend, which also includes the annual Big Lunch, will surpass last year's total for the Royal Wedding.
Despite still being five months off, councils are already being inundated with inquiries from residents wanting to mark the Jubilee, and are pulling out the stops to make organising events as straightforward as possible. Many are also launching initiatives to support their communities such as waiving road closures fees, offering cash grants and giving out party packs.
Last year councils across England and Wales received about 5,500 road closure applications for Royal Wedding street parties. Countless other celebrations also took place in gardens, on pavements, in pubs, parks and village greens, and many councils laid on their own parties for residents.
Councillor Chris White, Chair of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said:
"Councils are already receiving hundreds of inquiries from residents wanting to hold Jubilee street parties. There was a lot of interest last year for the Royal Wedding but it wasn't until much nearer the event. It really seems as if Britain's street party tradition has been well and truly resurrected and people are already planning to dust down their fold-out tables and unpack the bunting.
"Bringing communities together is something councils see as one of their key roles and, as they did for the Royal Wedding, they're pulling out all the stops to make organising street parties as easy as possible. Straightforward guidance is readily available from council offices and online, along with simple application forms. Many councils have waived road closure and insurance fees where possible, and others are giving out grants to support communities in marking the special occasion.
"It's fantastic that Jubilee weekend looks set to be a great few days with people everywhere coming together to enjoy a good old knees-up. There will of course be cases where a genuine concern means a proposed celebration may not be able to go ahead, but through common sense and talking to each other councils and residents should be able to find amicable solutions to make a street party happen."
The LGA has been working with councils and their communities to find any bureaucratic sticking points which may still exist in event-organising and ways of overcoming them. In March it's launching an online forum where councils can share experiences and ideas and community groups can raise any issues they've come across locally. A DirectGov website has also been launched this year where residents can enter their postcode and be directed straight to their local council's website to find advice on holding a street party in their neighbourhood.