06 March 2011

"No Help Britain"

I have wasted an entire, gorgeous Sunday filling in the paper work from the Council for my intended Royal Wedding Street Party! I say wasted, because it was only AFTER I had waded through pages and pages of mindless nonsense ("Please specify your Grid Reference coordinates and maps","Please indicate if you intend to have any of the following at your event: Donkeys, Ponies, other animals, &etc.") that I was directed to a website which informed me that to close our little end of cul de sac road would cost £250.00!

£250.00 for a 3 hour a street party? In a road that is hardly ever used, even by residents? That is criminal! Clearly, the District Council on intent on making the process to obtain a street closure so abhorrent, that no one will want -- or be able to afford -- to do it!
And, this doesn't include the cost of event insurance. Not surprising, there are a several insurance companies standing at the ready to offer punters "Royal Wedding Street Party Insurance" (I'm not kidding!) to the tone of £51.00 for parties expecting fewer than 100 guests.

I'm absolutely furious! I dutifully wrote the Council last week for instructions and advice on street parties and road closures, and the woman who responded to my query said NOTHING about there being a fee to have the road closed.

In the process, I did discover an amazing organisation called "Streets Alive!" Their goal is to encourage communities to come together in that great British tradition: the street party. 

According to streetparty.org.uk, street parties have a long history and are a British tradition. Street parties are popular residents' events in their own streets, and seem to have started in 1919. They were held in July as 'Peace Teas' as a genuine celebration of the signing earlier in June of the Versailles peace treaty after the First World War. They centred round a special treat for children in those times of hardship and were quite formal sit down affairs.
The earliest living memory of a street party in this tradition is that of a man in Cornwall who clearly remembers having a street party in 1935, held for the Silver Jubilee of King George V.
After then residents continued to organise them on all major national days of celebration such as Coronation of George VI in 1937, VE Day in 1945, Festival of Britain 1951, Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Silver Jubilee of the Queen in 1977, The Royal Wedding of 1981, marking the Millennium in 2000, and the Golden Jubilee of the Queen in 2002. 
Now street parties are becoming more common and held at any time for their own sake, for everyone in the street and with a more relaxed BBQ and food-to-share arrangement. "Streets Alive" believes that street parties can and should become more widespread and a regular event throughout the country to promote neighbourliness and a sense of community.
It is a real shame that the cost of organising such an event is so prohibitive.Thankfully, we have an alternative space in our communal garden. But, I can only feel incredibly sad for communities that don't have an alternative space into which they may retreat. 
Poopey on the Council!
Still, I shall not be outdone! On to Plan B.
My spirits were lifted immeasurably by the chance discovery of the gorgeous offerings of Crabtree Lane, makers of fine handmade home accessories crafted from vintage and designer fabrics. The source of beautiful bunting!!
We shall have a gorgeous party in spite of the mean-spirited pencil-pushers!!

Luscious! Beautiful, fabric bunting from Crabtree Lane - www.crabtreelane.co.uk


Happy Homemaker UK said...

I hope you all still pull this together. Our street is having one - fortunately I'm not the one organizing. Good luck

Anonymous said...

Do you get your money back if it rains?