Host an event in a park or open space

Events FAQs

Is it actually an event?

For the purposes of this policy an “event” is defined as any activity in Harrow’s parks, open spaces or adopted highway. It takes place over a limited period only. It could be open to the public or not, and may restrict access to (all or some of) the open space. Thus it affects the “normal” recreational use and quiet enjoyment of public facilities.

Event size & notification period

  • Small event up to 499 people - 4 weeks
  • Medium event up to 1,000 - 8 weeks
  • Large event over 1,000 and Special Events - 16 weeks

Do I need a Licence?

A Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice (TEN) will be required for an event that will include licensable activities.

Small events of 499 or less may be covered by a TEN, for larger events an application for a premises licence must be made.

The following Open Spaces are licensed for live music, recorded music, plays and exhibition of films for 499 people or fewer:

  • Canons Park
  • Headstone Manor Recreation Ground
  • Pinner Memorial Park
  • Harrow Recreation Ground
  • Roxeth Recreation Ground

Find out more about licences

Who Looks After Safety?

Responsibility for safety at an event rests with the organiser

The council and its partners have a duty to ensure all relevant health and safety guidance is followed. This includes ensuring and reviewing of full risk assessments, emergency evacuation plans, and method statements.

Please refer to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. An example risk assessment form is attached and guidance on the completion of a risk assessment is provided.

Health and safety paperwork must be submitted in accordance with the application timetable requirement. It may also be a condition of approval that management plans are submitted in advance of the application timetable requirement due to their complexity. If this is the case sufficient notice will be given of any change in deadline.

What Type of Event is it?

An event can fall into more than one category e.g. events can be community led and be considered commercial. The final decision on the purpose of an event will rest with the council.

Community Event

An event organised by the community for the community.
It is free to enter/attend the event and the purpose of the event is not for the selling or promoting of a commercial product.
Community events are generally not-for-profit, but can still gain community discounts if they are fundraising through charging an entry fee to an event. These discounts will only be offered where all monies gained through the event go directly to benefiting the community or a non-exclusive community organisation.
Ultimately the decision lies with the council as to whether an event can be considered a “Community Event”.

Charity/Fundraising Events - Local and National

This includes events that are organised by not-for-profit organisations but can also include events run by commercial companies where the purpose of the event is for charitable fund raising e.g. bike rides and charity runs.

Commercial Events

Commercial events are defined as events that provide a beneficial gain to a particular individual, group, business or company, be it financial or promotional.
The following list gives some examples of commercial events. Please note this list is not exhaustive.

  • Corporate events
  • Commercial Music, Cultural, Theatre or Comedy Concerts or festivals
  • Marketing and promotional activities for profit making organisations (not charitable or fundraising)
  • Funfairs and circuses
  • Private events e.g. a wedding reception/private party/large picnic

An event can fall into more than one category e.g. events can be community led and be considered commercial. The final decision on the purpose of an event will rest with the council.

Private Event

A private event is where a site or part of a site for the event is reserved for the sole use of the applicant and an identified audience consisting of paying attendees or guests of the applicant.
Examples include private business functions, wedding receptions or parties.
Private events will be considered by the Council on an individual basis.

The following factors will be balanced when considering private events:

  • Income generated
  • Loss of public amenity
  • Potential negative impact, for example to residents in the area

Special Event

A special event consists of any licensable event to which one or more of the following apply:

  • The audience/number of participants exceeds 1,000 people per day
  • The event will be on site for 5 days or longer
  • Events considered to be particularly disruptive

Stand-alone funfairs, circuses and council led events are also regarded as special events.
To preserve the site and minimise disruption to residents, the council will limit the number of “special events” to a maximum of four per site, in any twelve-month period. Unless otherwise agreed, at least three weeks should elapse between special events, on any one site.

Street Parties

The Council will designate a weekend each year when communities can have street parties and the Council will waive all fees for road closures.

Am I eligible for a fees concession or exemption?

An 80% discount for events by community organisations, schools, places of worship and registered charities based within the London borough of Harrow that have free entry and are open to the public.

Hire charges may be waived for Park User Groups. The waiver of fees will be at the discretion of the Corporate Director (or delegated to the Divisional Director) and Portfolio Holder following recommendation from the Community Engagement Team. It is considered on a case by case basis through the application process.

There will be no charge for specific civic events including, but not limited to, Remembrance Day.

The council has created a Community Fund and registered community groups including Park User Groups can apply for support from this Fund to facilitate events.


Application Fee - For checking, validating and processing applications received and for liaising with other parties both internal and external to facilitate the event taking place. If approved, this fee will be deducted from the hire charges. If the application is rejected or if the event doesn’t go ahead the application fee is non-refundable. The application process will need to be completed for all events.

Hire charges - hire of parks and open spaces and public highway where movement will be restricted. This fee may be waived for Park User Groups. The waiver of fees will be at the discretion of the council

Licensing Fees - Additional statutory licensing fees will apply to events that include licensable activities under the Licensing Act 2003; these charges will vary depending on the nature and scale of the events. For detailed information on licensable activities and fees, please see the department for media cultural and sport’s website, In particular view the guidance issued under the Licensing Act 2003. Applicants can also contact the council’s Licensing Team for more information.

Damage -The full cost of repairing any damage caused as a result of an event will be invoiced to the hirer

Find out more about fees

How do you decide on approved?

The criteria below will be used to determine whether permission for an event is granted. For ease of reference the criteria has been provided as a list of questions:

How does the event benefit Harrow residents and communities?

Whether the planned event appeals and is of interest to residents of Harrow and its communities.
Events that are commercial in nature can increase the community benefit through offering discounts or free sessions for particular disadvantaged groups or schools.

Who is the event likely to attract?

Is the event aimed at local residents or a wider audience?
Greater weight will be placed on events that are aimed at a more local audience.

Does the event provide a safe experience?

Events must adhere to and comply with all health and safety, building control and food hygiene conditions
Provide a safe and enjoyable experience for those attending.
Commercial providers of food will only be considered where the food hygiene rating is 3 or above.

Is the event accessible, or can it be made more inclusive?

The development and delivery of all events must facilitate access for people with disabilities and other traditionally under-represented groups.
Facilities must be accessible to the mobility impaired and meet the requirements of Equality Act 2010.
Where appropriate, the council may require commercial event organisers to provide British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and accessible toilets at an event.

What impact does the event have on the local environment?

Events should be minimising their impact on the local environment in terms of noise, disturbance, waste, reducing energy consumption and be disturbance free to wildlife.
The event must have minimal impact on the park and its assets.
Any event should aim to minimise nuisance and annoyance to nearby neighbours.

Does the event support the local economy?

Events that benefit and support local businesses and charities will be encouraged.

Does the event provide an income to cover costs?

To enable the service to cover costs