People who want to host coronation street parties should challenge petty council decisions, new advice from Whitehall says, as local authorities are accused of micromanaging.
Thousands of people will attend public parties over the May bank holiday weekend of the coronation as they celebrate the official crowning of King Charles at ‘Big Lunches’ across the country.
But councils are imposing strict rules on party organisers with edicts that go against government advice.
Some places need everyone on the street to agree to the party and others are charging up to £147 for road closures.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has urged councils to use a ‘light touch’ approach and told residents to challenge myths about street parties.
Councils are imposing strict rules on party organisers with edicts that go against government advice (a celebration in Plymouth for the Jubilee in 2022)
Some councils require a health and safety assessment but others are not as concerned about
Ten local authorities have been identified by The Telegraph as enforcing regulations which go against government advice.
For a New Forest party organisers need to consult with everyone who might be affected by the closure of the road – and the event will not be permitted if there are any ‘unresolved objections’ from anyone consulted.
Advice from Guildford Borough Council will also reject party applications if there are ‘valid’ unresolved objections.
Other councils, like Richmond, require a statement to say whether the majority of those living nearby have agreed to the event, and Medway asks for a list of people with objections.
The Kent-based council is waiving its usual £100 street closure fee and Guildford won’t charge residents the typical £154.50.
But in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, party organisers will be expected to fork out a whopping £147 to close A and B roads – before paying for advertising and signage.
Swindon doesn’t want street parties to be held on ‘highways’ and instead wants events to be at local parks and in gardens.
Bexley will only allow part of a road to be shut for the duration of a coronation celebration.
Councils are also not in agreement about whether a health and safety assessment needs to be carried out before the event.
Several offer event planners advice on respectful ways to mark the occasion, with Southend-on-Sea City Council saying parties shouldn’t release balloons or lanterns.
For the sustainability-minded, Windsor and Maidenhead suggest ditching single-use plastic and serving vegan options.
Epping Forest has even offered advice on how food should be served, saying small platters are better than big ones and new food should not be piled on to platters that have already had food on them.
Councils were branded ‘killjoys’ during last year’s jubilee for refusing to relax rules about drinking in public and bunting, with then Prime Minister Boris Johnson forced to step in.
Councils have even offered guidance on the size of plates that food should be served on (cakes made for Queen Elizabeth II’s 2022 Jubilee)
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), has urged residents to challenge council ‘myths’ about street parties.
Councils do not need to be informed of every detail, the department said, and there shouldn’t be long and complicated forms for road closures.
‘If councils really need more information, they will contact organisers, but they are expected to take a “light touch” approach. If your council asks for excessive information, you should challenge them.’
The Eden Project – of which the Queen Consort is a patron – is hosting ‘Big Lunches’ to encourage communities to celebrate the coronation.
Program Director Lindsey Brummit said councils should make it as easy as possible to hold events and ‘reduce the red tape’.
‘I think it’s about being realistic about the real risks.
‘This is a celebration, it’s a fun event. The benefit of councillors being able to support people to come together in this way far outweighs the costs of it.’
The Local Government Association said councils need ‘balance’ and wanted street parties to be enjoyed safely.
New Forest District Council told The Telegraph that it was supporting residents to celebrate the coronation.
‘Our processes are light touch, to encourage all those that wish to hold a street party, to do so.’