Ministers have told councils to ditch their ‘health and safety’ culture to allow partygoers to properly celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next month.
Street parties are being arranged across the country for the four-day bank holiday weekend starting on June 2 to mark Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne.
However, in many areas the petty bureaucracy of councils has frustrated plans.
In some cases, bunting has been banned from lamp posts and organisers are being made to fill out counter-terrorism forms.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has written to every local authority to urge them to ‘cut red tape’ and be ‘completely flexible’ over road closures
Ministers have told councils to ditch their ‘health and safety’ culture to allow partygoers to properly celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next month
Platinum Jubilee decorations are seen at a shop in Carnaby Street ahead of planned celebrations for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in London
Other examples of Jubilee red tape included pensioner Gloria Odell being sent 23 pages of forms when she tried to organise a small party in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. They included a ‘counter-terrorism plan’, a security plan, a severe weather management plan and a Covid risk assessment
Now Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has written to every local authority to urge them to ‘cut red tape’ and be ‘completely flexible’ over road closures.
In his letter, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Gove writes that while ‘many of you are leading the way and living up to the ‘Platinum Councils’ badge by supporting over 70,000 Big Jubilee Lunches’, he asked them ‘to make one final push and take every possible action to help your communities in their preparations – from making all processes cost-free for residents, to cutting red tape, and being completely flexible when receiving further applications for road closures’.
Mr Gove adds: ‘Your residents should be made aware of all the support that is available and no one should be put off by needless red tape’. He also hints at permanent cuts to suffocating bureaucracy, saying: ‘National celebrations like this mean a lot to our communities and the fabric of our society.
‘The efforts made by you and your local communities will make this a momentous weekend of truly UK-wide celebration – and I would like to hear from you to understand what more we can do to make it quicker and easier for communities to come together regularly in the future, including loosening any rules to deliver a lasting legacy.’
Organisers in Bournemouth were told they were not allowed to put bunting on lamp posts because they were ‘not designed for this purpose’ and were asked to ‘accept responsibility for all claims for public liability insurance cover to a minimum value of £5 million’.
Other examples of Jubilee red tape included pensioner Gloria Odell being sent 23 pages of forms when she tried to organise a small party in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. They included a ‘counter-terrorism plan’, a security plan, a severe weather management plan and a Covid risk assessment.
The 70-year-old said the deluge of ‘nonsense’ protocols forced her to abandon the June 5 event for just 15 houses on her street, which would have raised money for the local hospice.
In Mr Gove’s own constituency, Surrey Heath, party holders were told to hold risk assessments covering ‘extreme weather’ and ‘slip, trip and fall hazards’, along with the use of reusable plastic plates and cups rather than glass. Party organisers have also been told to ensure there is an adult near barbeques or cooking equipment at all times.
One resident in Bournemouth was shocked to read that she would not be allowed to put bunting up on her street’s lamp posts. On the Isle of Wight, organisers were told to pay for a traffic management company to draw up plans for an event.
In North Tyneside, residents were told that small-scale street parties are only for ‘immediate residents’, not family and visiting friends.
A source close to Mr Gove said: ‘We want to see communities across the country coming together to celebrate our sovereign’s Platinum Jubilee. Of course people should be responsible and think about the safety of those attending but we encourage councils to be flexible and minimise pointless red tape and tick-box form filling.’
A guide to organising a street party has been uploaded to Mr Gove’s department website. First, residents must fill out a simple application form and send it back to the council ahead of any event. Organisers might need to contact the relevant licensing or highways authorities if a temporary road closure is needed.
The guidance says: ‘If you encounter any difficulties, speak to your local councillor who will be happy to help.’
The guidance busts several ‘myths’ espoused by councils in England and Wales in the run-up to the celebrations. Among common misconceptions are that you need a music licence at a street party, that the law requires a fee to be charged for road closures and that you need expensive insurance.
Organisers are also pointed to The Big Lunch website where they can request a free assistance pack.
It was revealed last night that Liverpool is leading the nation in patriotic pride ahead of the Jubilee celebrations.
Liverpool football fans were condemned last week for booing Prince William and the national anthem at the FA Cup final at Wembley, but an analysis of council data reveals that more street parties are being planned in Liverpool than either Manchester and London, with one being organised on average for every 7,150 residents.
By contrast, Mancunians are planning one party for every 8,372 residents and Londoners just one per 11,936 residents.
Is this the most selfish road in all of Britain? Neighbours clash in west London suburb after high street Jubilee Celebrations were blocked over fears BUSES would be disrupted
SCARLET HOWES FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
A battle of the bunting has broken out after the wealthy residents of a west London road blocked Jubilee celebrations on a nearby high street.
Traders on Barnes High Street in Richmond were planning a ‘packed calendar’ of events but have had to cancel because residents of Nassau Road, where the average house price is £3.5 million, complained about buses being diverted past their homes for the event.
Other locals are said to be disappointed about the cancellation. To add insult to injury, Nassau Road will be holding its own Jubilee party. Vickie El-Rayyes, 50, who owns artisan homeware and clothing store Dilli Grey, said: ‘It’s so disappointing. We would have liked a party as retailers don’t often do things together.
Streets, shops and restaurants in Windsor are adorned with Union Jack flags, bunting and Platinum Jubilee displays as the town gets ready to host four days of celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Holiday long weekend at the beginning of June Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Holiday Preparations
A colourful window display in the family run Daniel Department Store in Peascod Street
‘I was going to get a table and put it out on the street but now I’ll close the shop.’ One local mother-of-two said: ‘After the Covid dreariness, this was going to be some fun.’
The event, organised by Richmond Council and Barnes Community Association, would have seen the high street shut on June 4 with buses diverted down Nassau Road. But residents said they had not been consulted and were ‘not keen to have diesel fumes in our residential road’. One pensioner said the plans ‘would create massive disruption’, adding: ‘We all took the view that we should have been asked. I don’t care if we are called selfish.’
Another homeowner said: ‘Buses would mean we can’t put up the bunting.’
But not everyone on Nassau Road agreed, with one warning: ‘We risk being called the worst street in Britain but there’s quite a lot of people who were for it. Most of the residents have second homes anyway so they wouldn’t even be there.’