By Daniel Hunter
Councils have received almost 9,500 road closure applications for Diamond Jubilee street parties.
Coupled with the tens of thousands of other events planned in gardens, parks, pubs, village greens, care homes, schools, cul-de-sacs and town squares, the scale of national celebration looks set to surpass anything experienced for decades.
Town halls have been inundated over the past few months with inquiries about the June weekend, which also includes the annual Big Lunch — this year called The Big Jubilee Lunch and a part of Buckingham Palace's Diamond Jubilee programme - and have pulled out the stops to make organising events as straightforward as possible. Many councils have waived road closures fees, offered cash grants and given out party packs.
With the majority of road closure application deadlines now past, Hertfordshire has again proven itself to be party central with 451, followed by Surrey with 419. Bristol is the leading city outside London, with 91, and Wandsworth is London's leading borough with 227.
However, as an illustration of the true scale of celebrations, Newham Council, which this year launched a Let's Get The Party Started campaign, has received 60 road closure applications but is aware of nearly 200 other Diamond Jubilee get-togethers in its borough. In Manchester, where neighbourhood event organisers were offered grants of up to £200, the city council has received 35 road closure applications but knows of more than 200 celebrations in total.
The Big Lunch, organised by The Eden Project, gives out packs to organisers which provide invites, posters, a wall planner, stickers and recipes to help encourage neighbours to get involved. There's been an unprecedented amount of interest in this year's campaign. Streets Alive, an organisation which offers advice on community celebrations, has a Street Party Website which has seen its hits trebled in the last month to 5,000 a day.
Councils in England and Wales received about 5,500 street party road closure applications for last year's Royal Wedding.
"As early as January councils were reporting a high interest in street parties and it soon became clear that we were going to see more than for the Royal Wedding," Cllr Flick Rea, Chair of the LGA's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said.
"It seems people had such a great time at street parties last year that they want hold one again, and many of those who didn't get involved don't want to miss out this time round. Britain's street party tradition has been well and truly resurrected which is fantastic as it helps bring communities closer together.
"These road closure street parties are just the tip of the iceberg. There will be tens of thousands of other events in gardens, parks, pubs, village greens, care homes, schools, cul-de-sacs, driveways, community centres and town squares. The scale of national celebration looks set to be unlike anything we've experienced for decades.
"Councils have worked hard to help people hold street parties and make the process as straightforward as possible. Though the deadline for road closure applications may have passed in many areas, it's worth people contacting their council to find out as even if it is too late they may be able to suggest an alternative. There's still time for people to organise some form of celebration which doesn't require a road closure and many councils have set up websites detailing what's going on locally to help people join in open events already planned.
"Bringing communities together is something councils see as one of their key roles so it's fantastic that Diamond Jubilee weekend looks set to see people everywhere coming together to enjoy a good old knees-up."
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