'˜We need to make it easier to hold street parties in Portsmouth' says resident trying to encourage more community spirit

A SOUTHSEA resident believes community spirit in Portsmouth could be boosted if the council were to make street parties easier to host.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 2:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th September 2018, 2:58 pm
The street party in Allens Road, Southsea earlier this month, with Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr David Fuller and Deputy Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin with the organisers and residents Picture: Vernon Nash (180429-050)

Bill Edwards of Allens Road has lobbied the council for changes to costs and the application process of the events after he was shocked by the process to host a party earlier this month.

The 74-year-old said: 'Street parties would be an excellent way to improve community spirit in the city.

'My concern is not so much for us, I was able to gather enough money from the residents who paid for what Portsmouth City Council required as well as the public liability insurance. But what about areas that might not be able to afford the costs?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

'It's not just that but it's quite difficult to apply to have the party. The application process they currently have covers every single public event in the city, from street parties to festivals like Victorious.

'I looked at five other council websites and four of them had stand alone application forms that were much easier to navigate than the ones for Portsmouth.'

The party on Allens Road raised £655 in total from admission prices but only £450 of that went to the chosen charity, the Lord Mayor's Appeal, after council fees, traffic management and insurance costs were factored in.

Mr Edwards added: 'This is the fourth street party I've organised and the last one was in 2014. Back then the only cost I had other than the insurance was about £9.90. I didn't think the price would increase so much.'

He was supported by Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, who said: 'If our city can put on big events like Victorious, then we owe it to smaller residents' groups to ensure it's easy and affordable to host more localised celebrations that bring our community together. Efforts to make this happen have my full support.'

But a council spokesperson explained the process. They said: 'Road closure costs and processes are applied to all road closures across the city. The application process needs to be thorough and robust in order to ensure that people attending events are safe.

'We are currently reviewing our application process to make sure we're in line with councils from across the country. We welcome feedback on our processes to make sure they meet the needs of residents and reflect best practice.'

The council's culture boss, Cllr Steve Pitt, added: 'While we welcome members of the community hosting street parties, Portsmouth City Council has a duty of care to make sure that any events taking place on council land are well organised and safe for people attending.

'The application process is designed to allow for a thorough assessment of all elements of an event. Our events team are available to support anyone putting on an event - from a small picnic to a major event like the Great South Run - to ensure they only undertake work relevant to their event.'