This page covers the information you require to hold an event on land owned or managed by Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC).

We aim to work with you to make sure your event goes as smoothly and safely as possible. HDC supports external groups using our sites and providing activities for our customers.

The information is relevant for all types of events, from a small family party with a bouncy castle outside your house to a large multi-day event for thousands of people.

You will need to complete an application form, follow our events policy and provide relevant documentation. We recommend you do not finalise details or spend money on your event before we have agreed it can go ahead.

HDC Events Policy

Regardless of the size or scale of your event you will need to comply with the HDC events policy. Please note this may be amended at any time - it is your responsibility to ensure you are abiding by the latest version.

Event booking procedure

  1. Check if your proposed site is owned or managed by HDC. If your event isn't on HDC land but is large or complex, you may need to notify the Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG).

  2. Contact the Events and Promotions Officer to check the availability of the site/date and the suitability of your proposed event and activities.

  3. Complete the application form with as much information as possible. You must return this, along with the relevant paperwork (risk assessment, proof of insurance, site plan and possibly an event management plan) at least four weeks before your event or three months if it is a large or complex event.

  4. If the event and proposed activities are suitable we will send you a letter to say your event can provisionally go ahead, subject to us receiving the relevant paperwork.

  5. You will need to provide the relevant documents as requested. If we don’t receive them, or they are not to an acceptable standard four weeks in advance of your event, then we reserve the right to refuse permission for your event. We will give guidance where possible.

  6. You may be asked to attend an ESAG meeting to discuss the health and safety of your event. You will need to attend at least three months before your proposed event.

  7. Once all the paperwork is received, and any issues or queries resolved, we will send a letter giving you permission to hold the event.

  8. Before your event takes place you will need to provide full payment as agreed. We will also require a cheque as a refundable ground deposit in case of damage to the ground, buildings or other facilities on site. The relevant fees can be found in Section 7 and Appendix 1 of the HDC Events Policy.

  9. We would like to monitor site usage so we ask you to contact us after the event to let us know how the event went and the number of attendees.

  10. Assuming there is no damage, or it has been made good to our standards, then your ground deposit cheque will be returned or destroyed.

  11. You will celebrate a successful event and start planning a repeat for next year!

Application form

You will need to complete the event application form so we can consider your event. This must be completed digitally, not handwritten. To check the suitability of your event and availability of dates, we advise you contact the Events and Promotions Officer before completing this form.

Download the Event Application Form

Health and safety

A robust health and safety policy for your event is essential to minimise the risk of injury or death to staff and the public and cover yourselves in the event of an incident or a near-miss. As landowners we may be liable for incidents that occur on our land so we ask to see copies of your health and safety documents. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has lots of useful information and guidance on its website.

Remember - as event organiser YOU are responsible for the health and safety at your event, for all activities and for all participants.

Risk assessment

All groups will need to provide a comprehensive risk assessment. You must consider:

  • your audience
  • the location
  • all equipment and
  • each activity that you will be running.

Large events will be required to provide an event management plan.

You can find lots of useful information, templates and examples on the HSE’s website.

We have a blank risk assessment form you can use as a template. 

We cannot give you permission to hold your event if we consider your risk assessment is not suitable for the activities you are planning.

Fire risk assessment

No matter how large or small your event, you must include a fire risk assessment within your health and safety documents. GOV.UK has further guidance on completing a fire safety risk assessment.

Event management plan

If your proposed event is large or complex you will need to write an event management plan. This covers all aspects of your event, including marshals, parking, first aid, fire safety, catering. There are a lot of templates and guidance online.

Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG)

The ESAG is a friendly and helpful group of representatives from local public services (police, ambulance, highways and fire), Cambridgeshire County Council and HDC. They can advise you on the safety and management of your event.

If your proposed event is large, complex, "out of the ordinary" or will have a large impact on the local community, we will require you to attend an ESAG meeting. If we ask you to attend and you are unable to do so then we cannot allow your event to take place. For full information please have a look at the ESAG page.

You can also ask to attend an ESAG meeting. We may also circulate your application form and additional documents to the members for their comments.

Catering

If you are organising catering for your event you must be aware of the current laws and guidance. You can find these on the Food Standards Agency's website. You are responsible for external caterers at your event so we advise that you make sure businesses are registered and staff are suitably qualified.

You can find further useful information on our Food Hygiene and Health pages.

Inflatables

Inflatables at an event

Having a bouncy castle for a party or an event is great fun and can be a good fundraiser. They can be lethal, however, if not set up and supervised correctly.

Whether you are organising a private family party or a large public event there are some conditions that you will need to abide by for your own safety and the safety of members of the public:

  • a member of staff from the suppliers must stay with the equipment at all times
  • we will require a:
    • copy of the provider’s public liability insurance certificate with a minimum of £10 million compensation
    • copy of the safety certificate, PIPA or equivalent, for each piece of equipment
    • full site-specific risk assessment that covers the use of each piece of equipment and is relevant to the site at which it is to be located
    • site-specific method statement to cover the use of the equipment on the site – access, vehicles on site etc.

Don’t be put off by this list - all reputable companies can readily provide these documents.

Inflatables at private parties

If you are only organising a small, private party on HDC land and are having an inflatable, such as a bouncy castle, for your personal use then you need to complete this application form instead of the full version. We require all the documents listed in the "Inflatables at an event" section above and for a member of staff from the supplying company to stay with the equipment at all times.

Fairground rides

Any company providing fairground style rides must be members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain. This ensures they have the correct insurance and health and safety inspections.

Organising a street party

If you would like to organise a street party you may need to apply for a street closure. There is a lot of local information on our Street Parties page. Further advice can be found on GOV.UK and in the Guide to Organising a Street Party.

If you plan to use the green space next to your houses as well then please get in touch with us so we can check if it is HDC land and let you know what you need to do.

If you plan to have a bouncy castle or other inflatable you do need to let us know about your event and provide certain documents. Please see the information about inflatables.

Charges and fees

These are set out in the HDC Events Policy and depend on:

  • where the event is to take place
  • who is organising the event
  • if money is being raised and
  • who the funds are going to.

Fees and charges may be negotiable.

Ground deposit

You will need to pay a ground deposit in the form of a cheque. This is fully refundable if there is no damage to the ground. If there is damage, such as ruts, litter, damage to hard standing or oil spillages, you will be fully liable to returning the ground to its original condition. You must contact us to agree how the land will be reinstated. If the damage is not repaired we will not return your ground deposit and may invoice you if the costs incurred are greater than this.

There is a lot of information online and we have put together a list of links you may find useful. Please note HDC cannot be responsible for any incorrect or out of date information on external sites.

Safety Advisory Group

Health & Safety Executive

Running Events Safely - this is essential reading for all events organisers and includes:

Government advice and guidelines

Understanding Crowd Behaviour

Voluntary Groups: A "Can Do" Guide

The Purple Guide

The Purple Guide covers every aspect of planning and running an event. There is a subscription fee of £25 for 12 months.

HDC sites

Sites HDC owns or manages include:

Scroll for more
Huntingdon St Neots St Ives

Hinchingbrooke Country Park

Huntingdonshire Community Plant and Tree Nursery (Godmanchester)

Riverside Park and car park

Sapley Park

Spring Common

Stukeley Meadows Local Nature Reserve

Views Common

Barford Road Pocket Park

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve

Priory Park and car park  

Regatta Meadow

Riverside Park and car park

St Neots Skate Park                                                                                 

Hill Rise Park

Holt Island                                                                        

HDC owns and manages various car parks around the district - the locations of these can be found on the Parking page.

We also own and manage informal areas of green space next to housing. Please contact us if you're not sure about a piece of land.

Non-HDC sites

Huntingdon Market Square, St Ives Market Square and St Neots Market Square - please contact Cambridgeshire County Council at highway.events@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Castle Hills Park, Huntingdon - please contact Huntingdon Town Council on 01480 411883 or town.council@huntingdontown.gov.uk.

FAQs

How do I find out who owns the land?

Please contact us.

How much notice do you need?

Get in touch as soon as you are planning an event and have a date in mind, even if you held the same event last year. Please do not assume you can automatically hold an annual event. We advise that you do not spend money on your event, or advertise it, until we have given you permission to hold it. If you wish to have an informal discussion about possibilities then please get in touch with the Events and Promotions Officer.

We will need a completed application form and all the relevant paperwork at least four weeks before your event. If it is a large event or involves more complex activities and we ask you to attend a Safety Advisory Group Meeting we will need a completed application form and relevant paper work at least three months before your event.

Why do I need to give you so much notice?

The more notice you give us, the more time you have to organise your event. We may not allow your event to take place if there is already another large event on the site or within the locality at the same time – we have to take into account things like the impact on the local community, parking etc.

We also need time to go through the documents you provide. These are emailed to the relevant people within the council and possibly to the members of the ESAG. Until issues have been resolved we cannot give you permission to hold your event.

We also plan grounds maintenance work a few weeks in advance. If we know about your event we can look at arranging schedules such as tree safety work and grass cutting - firstly so we don’t disturb your event (loud grass mowers going backwards and forwards are intrusive) and also to see if it’s possible to schedule a grass cut before your event to make the site more suitable for you.

Why do I need to let you know about a small event?

As landowners, we may be liable for incidents that happen on our land so we need to make sure it is going to be held safely and responsibly. We also need to ensure there are no clashes with other events and arrange grounds maintenance schedules.

I only want a bouncy castle outside my house for a private party – do I have to let you know?

Yes. Please see the inflatables section for further information and the health and safety aspects.

I want a bouncy castle in my garden - do I have to let you know?

No, but to keep you and your partygoers safe it would be a good idea to request copies of any appropriate documents before you make a booking so you can check the supplier's credentials.

What will happen if you don’t allow my event to go ahead?

As far as possible we will work with you to resolve any issues that may prevent us from allowing your event to go ahead. 

Why do you need to know the potential income from our event?

We have a series of charges as laid out in the events policy depending upon the site and who the funds are going to. We use the information to work out the charges.

My event is only a few weeks away – can I still hold it?

Please speak to the Events and Promotions Officer to discuss your event.

I am going to an ESAG meeting - do I need to complete their form as well as your application form?

No – the HDC event application form has enough information for the ESAG members.

I have filled in an ESAG form - do I need to complete an HDC events application form as well?

Yes – we ask for additional information about charges, parking and waste disposal.

Can I take vehicles on site?

This must be fully risk assessed to ensure the safety of participants and the public and to prevent our land from being damaged. If we agree to allow vehicles on site then you must reassess the ground conditions before the event. We reserve the right to disallow access if ground conditions deteriorate and you will be responsible for any damage to the ground caused by taking vehicles on site. We are not responsible for any costs incurred. The HSE has some useful guidance on site vehicles and traffic.