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Events on the highway

Guidance, information and relevant application forms for event planners in Dorset

Throughout the year, activities take place on the highway such as carnivals, processions and street parties.

In order to help you have a successful event, and to enable your guests, visitors and participants to get to and from the event quickly and safely, we need to know about it.

An event can only be held on the public highway with the approval of the relevant licensing authority.

'The highway' means a road or street, verge, footway or pavement, public footpath, bridleway, restricted byway or byway open to all traffic.

It is an offence to attempt to close the road without proper authorisation.

Before deciding to hold a street party it is worth considering whether there are other areas that may better suit your needs. As a predominantly rural county, Dorset has many open spaces that might be suitable - these might include recreation fields and parks. You would need to discuss this with the relevant landowner or authority that owns or manages the land in question.

Apply for a road restriction for an event

To make the application process easier - we define events according to their size.

Follow the relevant application process if you intend to hold:

  • a special event on or adjacent to the road - an event hosted for a large number of people, as high-profile as a carnival or street fair
  • a street party - a small, local community event attended by local residents and their families; and which isn't advertised to the wider community, this includes celebrations for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018.
  • a motor vehicle trial on footpaths or bridleways

Other useful information

See our advice about the use of banners and bunting within the extents of the highway.

Enquire about holding an event on the highway (opens in a new window)

Report and track road issues and enquiries

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