At last we have something to celebrate - let's make the most of it!
Sixty years ago a young Elizabeth Windsor took her place on the throne, somewhat earlier than had maybe been anticipated. Since that time our Sovereign has done us proud worldwide, never failing in her duties and representing us as a Nation with grace and dignity. A true national treasure, you don't have to be a staunch Royalist to appreciate the dedication our Queen has always displayed.
And so it will be smiles all round as friends and neighbours gather for the Jubilee Celebrations on the extended weekend of the 2nd June 2012. A street party is a British tradition of the best kind, bringing communities together who, despite living only doors from each other may barely have got beyond nodding terms. It's generally the simplicity, and slight 'old fashioned-ness' (made up word but you know what I mean!) that make for a fantastic event for all ages.
There are a few rules and regulations, and a wealth of information and guidance on the Cheshire East Council website. The single most important thing is to get your application for an event into the Council no later than the 9th April via the Event Notification Form on the website. This is required for ALL events and is absolutely vital if you are requesting a road closure, as the Council have to consider each request individually bearing in mind location/access etc. Unfortunately it will not be possible to close A roads. The Council is waiving its usual road closure and administration fees for small local events, although there may be a charge for events on a larger scale.
Whether they wish to participate or not, all street residents and businesses must be notified of any planned street party. You cannot deny anyone vehicular access to their property so it would be wise to discuss parking and access arrangements well in advance. If your road is closed off, it would be prudent to have someone responsible for the access point should the emergency services be required.
Licences are not required for the consumption of alcohol or playing of incidental music. If you are planning on having any type of live music performance then it may be necessary to obtain a licence. Similarly sharing of alcoholic drinks among neighbours is fine but if alcohol is to be sold at the event then you would need a licence. It goes without saying that at the heart of any successful party is responsible drinking, particularly where there are children and young people sharing the day.
It might be worth contacting local schools or community halls to see if they would loan or hire tables and chairs. Alternatively a decent row of pasting tables should be sufficient, with as many people as possible ‘hoiking’ out their garden chairs. It is not acceptable to ask old Mrs Grimshaw at number 53 to bring out the antique Chippendales for the occasion! And talking about old Mrs Grimshaw, she will probably have a lovely time reminiscing about the Coronation and Silver Jubilee parties - but she will most likely be worn out come dusk. Think about both the youngest and the elderly residents when deciding on timings, and if you think you'll have a few diehards wanting to party until dawn make it known that this will need to be taken inside with the volume down – don't let your day close on a sour note.
Fireworks, barbeques, Chinese lanterns - they may all spring to mind when planning a party. On a very small scale these may be fine but consider that at least one person will have to remain responsible (and sober) enough to oversee these full time. Add to this the likelihood of a dozen or more small excited children running around like mad things and you could have a recipe for disaster. Remember the appeal of the 'old fashioned-ness' (by the time I've finished that'll be in the dictionary!) and keep things simple and safe.
If your street is not suitable for a street party then you can hold your event on Council property - parks/open spaces etc; you will need to take out Public Liability Insurance, but the Council will waive its usual park administration fees. Again, details and links to providers can be found on the Cheshire East Council website.
Whether your party is on the street or council land, you will be responsible for your own clear up operation. This needs to be done promptly and properly, particularly if the road has been closed. Once it is re-opened access needs to be clear, unobstructed and free from any risk of skidding on a stray sausage roll.
So gather your friends and neighbours, get your bunting ordered and prepare to have a gem of a Jubilee!
Event Notification Forms and useful links can all be found on www.cheshireeast.gov.uk