:shock: Crikey. I doubt that this is what Eric Pickles had in mind, when he said you did not need signs.......
EDIT: If all else fails I am sure some of the pro's on here can help with advice on getting something safe sorted out.
As a very recent Ex Pro who was heavily involved in Big Lunch and Royal Wedding Street Parties in Exeter (until I moved) I can quote the following guidance.
Eric Pickles is a Moron, he hasn't discussed his Road Closure Advice with DfT.
His advice is pretty much in direct contradiction to any reasonable Health and Safety/Road Traffic Legislation (not necessarily saying the legislation is right, but it is there and should be followed). I think his plan is to try and kill everyone holding a street party.
If the Council or the Police will help then that's great. However there will be Dozens of these events happening in the area so I suspect many will have taken the same stance as Devon - basically doing the bare minimum on the paperwork to make it 'legal' (I'll come to that) and letting the organisers take full responsibility, and the rap if it goes wrong. The 'closure' has quite possibly been processed by the most junior admin clerk they have, quite likely they've never been there and not looked at it on a map other than to confirm the road name. If they aren't helpful, don't waste your time asking them for help and don't expect them to have checked anything you submitted.
Incidentally why has our closure been done under S21 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847- I'm fairly certain this isn't what is normally used when a road is closed.
If the closure is done under TPCA then make sure it was done by a UA or District. County Councils cannot make these orders. These are still widely used even though they mean absolutely nothing if there isn't a police presence, and even then they don't mean much (legal advice I've seen is basically that they are illegal for pre-planned events) S16 of the RTRA was created to replace this practice.
I haven't looked at the route on google, and hope to make this general advice to anyone who's been lumbered with this. Things to seriously consider are:
- Bus Routes
- How will the fire engine get to Mrs Jones House (etc, you know what I mean)
- What is actually stopping people driving down the road? Signs (whatever they are) don't do it unless they are wide enough to make the driver get out and move it.
- Is the diversion suitable (the Council may have checked this, but the number of closure applications I see which divert A-roads under a low bridge, through a weight limit and on single track roads still beggars belief). Check it again.
- Do you need to sign the diversion? Legally you probably don't *have* to, but if it is obscure or you get lots of non-local traffic then you probably do. If you do, make sure there is a visible sign at every junction and if necessary in advance of the junctions.
- Do any of your neighbours have street parties? If so do your diversions clash (not necessarily a problem, but diversion signage could be confusing if you don't co-ordinate)
With signing, I will assume that the Council/Police are not helpful. Many, many companies exist like the AA/RAC who will do signing for a price, but here are some low cost alternatives:
- 1. Does anyone else in the community work for the Council/Electric/Gas/Phone/Major Contractor/etc. If so, can they borrow the necessary signs from work? (80% of the time this will work)
- 2. Is there a local Rotary Club/Village Fete Committee/Carnival Committee? Do they have signs or do they know where you can get signs locally cheaply? (In Devon there was a voluntary group who had all the signs etc for Carnivals, Fetes etc)
- 3. Your local tool hire shop may well be able to hire you the signs (where do you think local builders get them from - they certainly don't all own them).
I do not advise anyone to try and make their own signs.
One last thing on signs, technically (legally) anyone placing an official road sign (including a traffic cone) on the Highway needs Chapter 8 Accreditation of some description. If you get signs from 1 or 2 above they probably have the accreditation. You could do the course yourself, but probably don't have time. If you get signs and put them out without Accreditation then rather than being a road sign it is an obstruction on the highway and you have committed an offence, nobody will bother until some jerk drives into the sign and tries to sue.
This brings me to the last point, do you have public liability insurance? Probably nobody has asked for it as Mr Pickles thinks it's unnecessary bureaucracy. Personally I wouldn't get involved without it. If you are working with a community group they may well have it anyway, if it's just you and your neighbours speak to your buildings insurer, they may cover it, or simply charge a nominal fee. However, Insurers only pay if you follow ALL the rules, so if you place a sign and you're not accredited, or if you are accredited and place a homemade sign then you're on your own.
Sorry to be a kill joy, I just hate the way your Government (not really mine anymore thank god) encorage so many people to break the law when they could just change it.