The public has been warned against hosting unauthorised Platinum Jubilee street celebrations in a crackdown by "party killjoys".
Up to 15 million people are planning to celebrate the Queen’s 70-year reign with neighbours, dwarfing the turnout for any previous royal event. But local authorities said only 16,000 official applications had been approved for the shut down of local roads that would allow parties to go ahead legally.
One council advised against putting bunting up in streets between electrical poles for the four-day bank holiday weekend over fears that it could cause damage to “our dustcarts, light poles and/or vehicles”.
Fire brigades warned that emergency service crews needed access down roads and requested tables should not be set up in the middle of streets.
The government ministry in charge of local authorities said residents should organise a "street meet" rather than a street party if neighbours had applied too late for a road closure licence. The deadline for applications to close a road in time for the Jubilee has now passed.
'A unique moment'
Tory MP Richard Holden, a parliamentary private secretary to the department of digital, culture, media and sport, said: "The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marks a unique moment in our nation’s history that families in cities, towns and villages across Britain are looking forward to joining together in celebrating.
“The idea that bolshy bureaucrats are tying people up in red tape to prevent these celebrations is contemptible.
“Councils should immediately clear the way to let these historic national celebrations go ahead so that friends and families can celebrate together this weekend.”
Johnny Mercer, a Conservative MP and former Army captain with the Royal Horse Artillery, said on Sunday night: “These street parties should be allowed to go ahead. We shouldn’t let killjoys spoil the Jubilee.”
Tory MP Julian Knight, chairman of the culture select committee, said: “Councils have to be realistic about this and understand that this is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, something which will never be seen again, and they need to be as flexible as possible.”
Expected to meet Lilibet
The four-day celebration begins on Thursday with Trooping the Colour with the Queen, in a departure from routine, taking a salute from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. She is also expected to meet for the first time her great-granddaughter Lilibet, who is named after her, on the child’s first birthday after flying into the UK from California with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Royal sources said the Queen is not planning to attend the Epsom Derby on Saturday, freeing her up for a meeting with the Sussexes at Windsor, who plan to stay at Frogmore Cottage on the estate.
According to an ICM poll, 14.7 million people are planning to take part in community events in the coming days, almost double the number who participated in the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and five million more than marked the Silver Jubilee in 1977.
But official figures show only 16,000 applications for street parties have been approved by councils, suggesting many will go ahead illegally.
The sheer scale of the festivities has prompted local authorities and emergency services to issue a series of warnings.
A government source said: "People cannot unilaterally close roads down, the council needs around six weeks' notice.
“If people can't close their road because they've left it too late, they can plan a 'street meet' which would keep the road open but can be organised on private land."
A local government official told The Telegraph: "I think one thing that is not clear for everyone is that most councils had a cut-off date for street party applications, which has just gone.
"People must realise they need to notify the emergency services or consult with neighbours.
"Some councils have been saying to residents that if they cannot close their street they can do something on public land or people's driveways. I think inevitably there will be people that have missed the deadline."
Council leaders are trying to encourage anyone without formal permission for a road closure to scale down their celebrations.
Solihull Council said: "It’s too late to apply for a street party and road closure but you can hold a street meet on private land if you avoid obstructing the road or pavements."
Rochford District Council in Essex took a firmer stance, warning that recklessly arranged bunting could stop residents having their bins collected.
A spokesman said: “Putting up bunting across some roads and attached to electric poles has the potential to cause damage to our dustcarts as well as other large vehicles, as it could get wrapped around parts of the vehicle and cause damage to the light poles and/or vehicles.”
Fire services advised against parties in the middle of the street. “We suggest that you set up tables along one side of the road and not the middle,” Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said in advice echoed by other fire departments.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said: “If you can’t or don’t want to close your road, you could plan a simpler street meet at short notice.
Queen had three horses
“This can keep the road open and be organised on private land, such as a driveway or front garden, without any requirement to fill in council forms. Residents should speak to their council about plans in any case.”
Her Majesty’s decision not to attend Epsom on Saturday means she will miss Derby Day for only the third time in her reign. The Queen had three horses entered in the Derby but all have been withdrawn.
The Queen travelled to Balmoral last Thursday for a restorative break ahead of this week’s celebrations. The short holiday is thought to have been part of her carefully paced schedule in recent months to allow her to fulfil her public engagements.
Among her other high-profile appearances at the celebrations will be a service of thanksgiving for her reign at St Paul's Cathedral.
The Platinum Party at the Palace pop concert on Saturday night has been delegated to younger members of her family. The Queen is expected to watch the concert on television from Windsor and take that day off from public appearances.
Harry and Meghan's visit to the UK this week will see them reunited with much of the wider Royal family for the first time since Nov 2019, when they moved to Canada before their dramatic departure from royal life.