Congratulations! By choosing to hold your event in Westminster you have the chance to reach up to one million daytime visitors and use some of the most iconic venues in the world. Whether you are a professional event planner or just starting out, we want to make your experience as good as possible.
Westminster hosts some of the most iconic locations in the world, and several areas in Westminster are covered by Premises Licences owned by the Council. You can apply to use one of these Premises Licences (rather than applying for a new Premises Licence) if your event location falls within the Licence's area, and your event meets the terms of the Licence.
The quickest and easiest way to find answers to your questions is to look through our FAQ list below.
No, the Special Events Group is a discretionary (non-statutory) service offered by Westminster City Council to support the safe planning and regulation of events within Westminster.
The Special Events Group is a discretionary (non-statutory) service offered by Westminster Council to support the safe planning and regulation of filming and events in the City of Westminster. We support around 60 premieres, 800 events and 2,500 filming applications per year.
We send out a no objection letter as part of our legal responsibility to you and to residents, businesses and visitors. The letter is not a contract between you and the Council, it simply means that we are happy with your filming or event to go ahead as it has been described to us and provided that you comply with any conditions that we have given. The letter of no objection does not cover Council partners such as the Police or London Fire Brigade, and these partners may ask for additional conditions before they agree to your activity.
First, check your location is in Westminster. As you want to hold an event on a public highway, you will need to tell us about it using the Pre-Advice Application Form (and also tell Transport for London if your street is on a ‘red route’ or bus route). We can let you know if the location you want is free and that it will be possible to hold your party. As you need to close your road to hold the party, you will need to fill in an Application Form to ask for a road closure. If your road also has resident parking and the residents are not invited to your party, you may need to arrange for them to be able to park somewhere else. If you prefer, or your timescales are very short, you can miss out the Pre-Application Form and go straight to filling in an Application Form, or you can opt for consultation to talk through your options with one of our Special Events and Filming Managers (£75 per hour).
If you expect a large number of people to attend, you may also want to consider security or limiting attendance by using invitations or wristbands, and you will also need to think about how you will check with everyone living on the street that they are happy to let the party go ahead. If you want to sell food or alcohol to the public at your party, you may also need to apply for additional licences, which you can do on the Application Form.
Try our Event FAQs or if you still can't find the answer to your question, please contact us.
Why not have a look at our What’s On page and find out!
Go to our What’s On page and check the distributor's website before travelling. The earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to get a good view. We try to make sure that all premieres are suitable for younger fans but we cannot accept any responsibility for content. Please note that you will not be eligible to view the film premiere without a valid ticket.
We send out a no objection letter as part of our legal responsibility to you and to residents, businesses and visitors. The letter is not a contract between you and the Council, it simply means that we have no issues with your filming or event to go ahead as it has been described to us and provided that you comply with any conditions that we have given. The letter of no objection does not cover Council partners such as the Police or London Fire Brigade, and these partners may ask for additional conditions before they agree to your activity
First, check your location is in Westminster. If you want to hold an event on a public highway, or in a park that we own or manage you will need check availability with us (and also tell Transport for London if your street is on a ‘red route’ or bus route). We can let you know if the location you want is free and that it will be possible to hold your party. If you need to close your road to hold the party, you will need to submit an Application Form, which you can do by registering or logging on to our online portal. When you apply you can opt for a consultation to talk through your options with one of our Special Events and Filming Managers (£75 per hour).
If you expect a large number of people to attend, you may also want to consider security or limiting attendance by using invitations or wristbands, and you will also need to think about how you will check with everyone living on the street that they are happy to let the party go ahead. If you want to sell food or alcohol to the public at your party, you may also need to apply for additional licences, which you can do on the Application Form
If you want to hold an event that will be part of the recognised Olympic programme, you need to contact the Special Events Group as soon as possible. If you want to hold an event that is associated with the Olympics as a theme or inspiration, then your planning is the same as for any other event of that type (such as a party, fun-run or fair). If you are unsure which of these you are, please submit an Application Form, which you can do by registering or logging on to our online portal and request a consultation, and we can help you.
If you want to collect money by holding a fundraising event, you can fill in an Application Form and send it to us as normal. If you want to raise money by collecting between 1 and 25 December with organised carol singers, you will need to obtain a Collection Licence from Westminster police. You can contact the Police Events Team on 0207 321 7524 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently street performances are only permitted in Covent Garden. You will need to apply to the private landlord to perform there.
Yes you can, provided that it does not endanger public safety and is appropriate to the size and audience profile of your event. If you decide to sell alcohol, you will need to mention this in your application and apply for a Premises Licence (if your event is for over 500 people) or a Temporary Event Notice (if your event is for 499 people or less). Westminster Council holds the Premises Licences for several iconic areas, and we can allow you to use our licence, provided that your event meets the Licence conditions. We operate a ‘no glass’ policy and will not allow sampling of alcoholic drinks in the City
Possibly. We do not generally support commercial applications for events that promote gambling, but will judge applications on a case by case basis. We strongly recommend that you request a consultation as we can advise you whether to proceed with a full application. If you are using gambling or alcohol-related sponsors, we may need to specify additional conditions around this.
Yes you can, provided that your face painter is properly trained, has public liability insurance and can have access to clean water. We will send an Environmental Health officer to check that everything is alright on the day, and we will not allow face painting to be done on any children under the age of two. The same conditions apply to temporary tattoos and henna art, but please note that any henna containing paraphenylene diamine (PPD) will not be permitted. Any face paints used should be water soluble and hypoallergenic.
We would strongly prefer not, as balloons kill wildlife and cause eyesores when they get trapped in trees or on buildings. 10% of released balloons eventually return to earth deflated but intact. Animals can become entangled in ribbons and strings and if the balloons are swallowed can block the gut causing birds and animals to starve to death. We understand that many balloon releases are arranged to promote charities and so we do not ban releases. We will ask you to seriously consider alternative methods of promotion if at all possible. If you do wish to hold a release we recommend using natural rubber latex balloons as opposed to foil. When tying please use natural cotton and hand tie rather than using plastic valves. For wildlife friendly balloon alternatives please see the Marine Conservation Society website: www.mcsuk.org
Yes, provided that you show them to your Special Events Group officer first so that we can seek approval under the Council’s advertising policy. If you want to use lampposts or any other street furniture to hang your banners, you will need to ask permission from the Council’s Transportation department. When you apply to hold your event, make sure that you mention that you want to put up banners
Yes, as long as you have the appropriate food safety measures in place. When you apply to hold your event, make sure that you mention that you want to sell food and we can advise you further depending on what kind of food you want to sell. If you want to sell food between 23.00 and 05:00, you will need to apply for a Late Refreshment Licence from the Council’s Licensing department.
Yes you can, provided that they do not endanger public safety and are appropriate to the size, location and audience profile of your event. If you have stunts and special effects we may need to apply other conditions to your events, such as asking for additional risk assessments to make sure that it is safe for the public. You can find more information on stunts and special effects in our Guidelines
Yes, provided that your free gifts will not cause littering as this is a fineable offence. We do not allow free alcohol sampling and would prefer you not to hand out free samples that could damage wildlife, such as balloons. We also expect you to clean up any waste that is caused as a result of your free gifts. If one of your partners or sponsors intends to hand out leaflets or samples, they will need to have written consent from you as the organiser
Try our Filming FAQs or if you still can't find the answer to your question, please contact us.
If you aren’t sure whether your location or venue is in Westminster, but you have a street name or postcode use the Boundary Map on our homepage which identifies all the streets within Westminster. If you're not sure where your location is but have a landmark, you could try doing a Google Maps search which will identify the borough your landmark is in
Trafalgar Square is partly owned by the Greater London Authority, (which owns the ‘island’ area. The North Terrace (the raised area by the National Gallery) and the outer areas are public highway and are managed by the Council. If you want to hold an event in Trafalgar Square, you will need to ask permission from both authorities to check for clashes. You can do this for Westminster by submitting an Application Form. There is more information on Trafalgar Square in our Guidelines or in the Specific Locations pack
Covent Garden is mostly owned by the landlord Capcount, apart from part of the Piazza, which is public highway and is managed by Westminster Council. If you want to hold an event in Covent Garden, you will need to ask permission from both authorities to check for clashes. You can do this for Westminster by sending us your completed availability request. There is more information on Covent Garden in our Guidelines or in the [Specific Locations]((http://westminster.gov.uk/events-portal/faq/events) pack. Capcount has a policy of only agreeing to events which reflect the Covent Garden brand
Chinatown is managed and marketed by Shaftesbury PLC The London Chinatown Chinese Association runs Chinese New Year and acts as a liaison with the community and businesses. If you want to hold an event in Chinatown, you will need to demonstrate that your event is appropriate to the culture of Chinatown and that it has a benefit to the local community. There is more information on Chinatown in our Guidelines or in the Specific Locations pack.
Parliament Square is mostly owned by the Greater London Authority, apart from the area of pavement around the Square nearest to the Houses of Parliament, which is public highway and is managed by the Council. If you want to hold an event in Parliament Square, you will need to ask permission from both authorities to check for clashes. You can do this for Westminster by sending us your completed availability request. There is more information on Parliament Square in our Guidelines or in the Specific Locations pack.
Please note that Prime Minister’s Question Time is on Wednesday mornings and the police operation around this time can affect filming and events.
Yes, provided that your event does not negatively affect traffic flow and you consult with the businesses and residents in the area. However, Oxford Street is a very busy area, and we have to carefully consider the impact that your event will have. If you wish to consult with businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street or Bond Street, you can contact the New West End Company, who may be able to advise you.
We recommend submitting an application as soon as possible so that we can advise you on your event proposal. Alternatively you can arrange to have a consultation with one of our experienced Special Events and Filming Managers (£75 per hour) to discuss your proposal.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 gave the Secretary of State authority to designate an area within 1km of Parliament for the purposes of minimising disruption to Parliament by protests. Section 137 of the Act prohibits the use of loud speakers at any time of the day or night for any reason (limited emergency exceptions) without our consent. If you want to use a loudspeaker within the Designated Area, you can apply to Westminster City Council Licensing 21 days before the date you wish to use it. For a map of the Designated Area, please see our Guidelines.
The Government Security Zone is a designation put upon Government offices, and you will need to consult with the Police if you want to hold an event in the Government Security Zone. If there is an emergency, the police may suspend parking in the GSZ.
Yes, just visit our Parks section. For event within the boundaries of the Royal Parks such as Hyde Park, Green Park, Grosvenor Square, Regent's Park, St James's Park and Victoria Tower Gardens - including any roads within their boundary, you'll need to speak to the Royal Parks Agency
No, we do not give permission, but we will send you a letter of no objection if we support your event. If your event is on (or will affect) the public highway, in a Westminster park or will affect residents, businesses or visitors, you will need to tell us about it.
By ‘public highway’ we mean any pavements, walkways, roads or pedestrian areas in the City of Westminster. If you have made sure that your event is in the City, but are not sure if your event is on the public highway, you can e-mail us or call to check. If your event is in a private location, but is likely to affect the public highway, you will need to tell us about it
Westminster Council is responsible for the ‘public highway’, meaning any pavements, walkways, roads or pedestrian areas in the City of Westminster. The Council also owns property and assets, including Council buildings, car parks, schools, community centres, parks, libraries and leisure centres. You will need to ask our permission to use these
Visit our online portal, register or log in and submit an availability request, and we can tell you if the location is free on the dates(s) you want, or if your preferred date(s) clash with any other events, filming or roadworks.
It depends on what you want to do. We prefer you to give us as much notice as you can, by submitting an Application Form
You can speak to the Communications and Strategy Unit (e-mail email@example.com or call 020 7641 8088) for appropriate locations
You should start advertising once we have approved your event application.
The availability check is a short form that you send us to check the availability of the location or venue you want. Visit our online portal, register or log in and submit an availability request, and we can tell you if the location is free on the dates(s) you want, or if your preferred date(s) clash with any other events, filming or roadworks. This is completely optional and does not constitute a booking or reservation of any event location.
A consultation is an optional service we offer. It costs £75 per hour, which entitles you to dedicated time with one of our experienced Events and Filming Managers, including an opportunity to discuss any areas of the application process that concern you, a detailed write up of any outcomes and a chance to review your application. You can request a consultation when you apply.
'Feasible’ means that we believe that your event should be able to go ahead according to our principle that it can be run successfully without the involvement of the Police or emergency services. This is a conditional agreement based on the information you have given us and can be withdrawn at any time if you change your event so that it does not meet given timescales, conditions or the Special Events Policy. If we say that your event is feasible and/or give you a letter of no objection, these do not constitute a contract with Westminster City Council.
Visit our online portal, register or log in and submit an Event Application. We will reply immediately to acknowledge receipt. We will then contact you to tell you whether your event can go ahead, or whether you will need to change some elements. If you have a short time before your chosen event date, please check your timescales before applying.
You will need to think about the age, interests, requirements and possible risks of the people you want to attend your event. For example if you want to hold a fair for children, you will need to consider if the venue is safe for children, whether you need to have qualified childcare staff present, if any face painters you want to use have the relevant insurance, and how you will make sure that the children are safe. You can do this by limiting attendance, for example specifying no adults to attend without a child and stamping people’s hands. You will need to make sure for any event that you are not discriminating against anyone who is disabled and wishes to attend.
Possibly. This will depend on your event audience profile and the location and time of your event (for example if you hold your event in Chinatown where the streets are narrow, you are more likely to need a crowd management plan). If you are planning to have an event with a large number of people arriving or leaving at one time or with a high-profile celebrity or state visitor attending, you will definitely need to consider a crowd management plan.
A sensitive location is an area of the City which has extra conditions attached to its use. For example any event held in Chinatown needs to demonstrate that it benefits the local community, whereas events in Covent Garden or Oxford Street/Regent Street/Bond Street need to reflect the brand of these areas. See the Event Guidance section for more information and a downloadable ‘Sensitive Locations’ information pack.
Yes provided that the premises you are using has a licence that allows music to be played and that it does not exceed a reasonable level (the EH Consultation team can advise you on this). If you are using a live band or music that is copyright protected, you may need to obtain a licence from the Performing Rights Society. If you need to obtain a Premises Licence (for an event with more than 500 people) or a Temporary Event Notice (for up to 499 people) you can indicate this on your Application Form
A Premises Licence is an agreement from the Local Licensing Authority (in this case, Westminster Council) under the Licensing Act 2003 that the Licence holder can hold an event for over 500 people incorporating any of the following activities: • sale by retail of alcohol • supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club • provision of late night refreshment (between 23.00 and 05:00) • provision of regulated entertainment such as: • a performance of a play • an exhibition of a film • an indoor sporting event • a boxing or wrestling entertainment • a performance of live music • any playing of recorded music (unless it is background music) • a performance of dance • where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience We hold a number of Premises Licences for various iconic locations, which you can apply to use instead of setting up a new Premises Licence (See Appendix 1 of the Events Guidelines for more information). A Premises Licence takes 1-2 months to apply for and costs between £100 and £635 depending where you wish to have the Licence.
A Temporary Event Notice (TEN) is an agreement from the Local Licensing Authority (in this case, Westminster Council) under the Licensing Act 2003 that the TEN holder can hold an event for up to 499 people incorporating any of the following activities: 1. sale by retail of alcohol 2. supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club 3. provision of late night refreshment (between 23.00 and 05:00) 4. provision of regulated entertainment, such as • a performance of a play • an exhibition of a film • an indoor sporting event • a boxing or wrestling entertainment • a performance of live music • any playing of recorded music (unless it is background music) • a performance of dance • where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience A Temporary Event Notice takes up to 12 working days to apply for and costs £21, but you are limited to 50 per individual or 5 per venue per year.
Yes, in almost all cases. If you are a school, community centre or other public organisation, you probably already have Public Liability Insurance (PLI). If not, you will need to arrange PLI for your event, usually up to £5 million. If you want to perform face painting or henna body art, you will also need PLI.
If you have vehicles that are required for your event, yes. Examples would be parking for event organisers, generators, food sale vans, or guests. You can apply for parking suspensions on your Application Form; this means that you pay for a bay that would normally be used for something else.
You will need a Temporary Traffic Order if your event requires a road to be closed for more than a few minutes. A TTO costs £834 per application (regardless the amount of streets) and takes up to 12 weeks to be processed. You can apply for one on your Application Form. If you are organising a street party and wish to block off a cul-de-sac or non-through road with the full consent of all residents, please include this information on your Application Form, as you may not required the TTO.
If you are suspending parking, disrupting or diverting traffic or impacting on the public highway at all, you will need a traffic management plan, which you can submit with an Event Plan if your application is successful.
Once we receive your application, we will e-mail you to acknowledge receipt, then contact you to let you know if your application was successful. If it is successful we will send you a cost estimate of your event, which you have an opportunity to waive some or all of if you are not-for profit or a student organisation. We will then help you to plan your event. If your application is not successful you will not be charged, and we will explain why your application was rejected. You have an option to appeal against our decision if you wish. You can also re-apply
A cost estimate is an estimate of what your event will cost in terms of parking, licence applications and any other Westminster services you may require. If you are a premiere or another form of commercial event, we will also charge for the time the Special Events Group or Parks team spends helping you to plan your event.
No, unless you apply for a licence for a specific part of your event. We do not license you to hold your event, but we do send you a letter of no objection as part of our legal responsibility to you and to residents, businesses and visitors. The letter is not a contract between you and the Council, it simply means that we have no issues with your event to go ahead as it has been described to us and provided that you comply with any conditions that we have given. The letter of no objection does not cover Council partners such as the Police or London Fire Brigade, and these partners may ask for additional conditions before they agree to your activity.
An Event Plan is a document you create throughout your planning process and then take with you on the day of the event. It’s a ‘how-to’ of how your event will proceed safely and holds information such as licences, your letter of no objection, contact information for key people, parking, crowd and traffic management plans and risk assessment
You can ask your Special Events Officer for a copy of our Risk Assessment template, but essentially you identify all potential risks (such as boxes piled by a fire exit), identify who is at risk (people trying to exit during a fire) and explain how you will mitigate or prevent them (move the boxes somewhere else).
If you are holding an event with a lot of elements at different times (such as performances or activities), you should produce a site programme for your attendees to tell them when and where these things will be happening. We will need to see a copy of the site programme before your event.
If you have an event that will be setting up, maintaining and then breaking down a designated event area, then you will need to write a production schedule. This is a plan telling every involved in the event when each element is expected to happen (such as ‘trucks arrive 8.00, unload 8.10-8.20, stage build 8.20-9.20’), which helps the event to run smoothly.
LOSPG stands for Licensing Operations Safety Planning Group, which meets with you as the event organiser to discuss the impact of your event on Westminster and the rest of London, and to set additional conditions as required.
Yes you do. Your event cannot discriminate against anyone with a disability in terms of access, either as an attendee or as a member of the public. Adjustments can include ensuring that there are sufficient disabled access toilets, or that dropped kerbs are not blocked and that trained stewards are on site to provide advice.
You need to tell your Special Events Officer as soon as possible if you want to remove any pieces of street furniture or park furniture. This must be done by the Highways department and you may incur additional costs
Your Special Events Officer can advise you on this depending on the size of your event, but as a general rule, you should do a letter drop to all affected addresses at least a week before your event. The letters should include your name and contact details and explain what, when and where the event is, the times that it will be running and any steps you have taken to reduce the impact on affected parties.
This depends on the size of your event, and your Special Events Officer can advise you. An ELT is a team that comes together at regular intervals during the event to monitor and troubleshoot problems and can include some or all of the following: • the organiser • a security company • the production company • First Aid providers • premises/land owners • Westminster Special Events Group • Environmental Health Team • The Fire Service • the Police Service • The Parks Service if the event is in a park The ELT may need two-way radios or another to stay in touch on the day.
You will need to bring: your letter of no objection, your Event Plan, any licences, permissions or suspensions and any other items as advised by your Special Events Officer.
If one of your vehicles gets ticketed and you believe that it is not correct, you can call the Special Events Group on 020 7641 2390.
If you have paid for or reserved parking and you find vehicles illegally parked on your paid for bays then you can call Parktel on 0207 823 4567 Option 2, which is a 24/7 number.
If your event or event plan changes, you need to tell us as soon as possible. If your event changes so that it is outside the scope of your original application (such as the date or location changing), so that it no longer meets minimum timescales, or no longer meets Special Events policy, you may need to re-apply.
If we or one of our partners (such as the Police) withdraw our support, then your event cannot go ahead in its current form. We will never withdraw support without a valid reason and we will do our utmost to alert you to any risk of this outcome and to support you to take measures to correct the problem so that we can maintain our support of your event.
This completely depends on your event and how complex it is. When you apply we will send you a cost estimate, that takes into account all of the elements you require. We will offer any not for profit or student/education organisation an opportunity to waive our fee if you wish to do so. An up to date list of fees is available here. If you want to use one of our parks, we also charge a rental fee for the use of the space.
A commercial event is a profit-making activity that does not generally benefit the community. Examples would include product launches, sampling or publicity stunts.
A public event is an event where at least 75% of the attendees are members of the public
A private event is an event where entrance to the public is restricted.
You can e-mail or call the Special Events Group to request a Waiver Form, which you complete and return. We will then agree whether to waive none, some or all of our fees.
You can either pay the fee, or if you do not agree with our decision, you can appeal by e-mailing us and explaining why you do not agree. Your appeal will be dealt with by the Head of the Special Events Group.
E-mail or write to the Head of the Special Events Group using the firstname.lastname@example.org address and request your refund. Please include details of why the refund is required.
We recommend re-applying with a later event date.
An appeal is when you disagree with a decision we make (for example on policy, waivers, changes or charges). A complaint is when you are unhappy with the service we have given you (for example quality, promptness or value for money). We have different processes for each issue.
Yes, e-mail us or write to us explaining what you want to appeal and why. We will respond to tell you the outcome of your appeal. Unless the decision was made by the Special Events Group Manager, the first appeal should be directed to him/her.
If the decision was originally made by the SEG Manager or after consultation with the lead planner and the Group Manager supports the planner’s decision, you can appeal to the Operational Manager – Street Management (charging and waivers) or the Commissioner for Special Events (decisions and policy).
If you are still unsatisfied, the final appeal stage will rest with the Chief Executive.
Yes, if you wish to make a complaint about the service you receive from the Special Events Group or any Council units during your event, please address your complaint to the Head of the Special Events Group. If the Head of the Special Events Group is the subject of the complaint, or you do not feel that your complaint was resolved, please address your complaint to the Commissioner for Special Events.
If you are still unsatisfied, the final appeal stage will rest with the Chief Executive.