Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Newcastle Ready to Lead the Partying; but Nation Is Divided over the Big Day

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Newcastle Ready to Lead the Partying; but Nation Is Divided over the Big Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Lauren Turner

WHILE royal wedding fever may be spreading, figures released today suggest some parts of the nation are more gripped than others.

More than 5,500 parties are expected to be held, according to statistics for road closure requests collected by the Local Government Association (LGA).

But while people in the South appear to be pulling out all the stops, those in the North are not so enthusiastic - with not one application made in Glasgow.

Despite that, Newcastle comes fifth in the list of British cities, throwing 32 parties - one for roughly every 8,800 residents - though Sunderland has only four registered, just one in more than 70,000 residents.

Apart from London, Bristol has the most with 54, followed by Cardiff at 52.

Chris White, chairman of the LGA's culture, tourism and sport programme board, said: "Councils across the country have pulled out all the stops to make organising royal wedding street parties as easy as possible.

"Bringing communities together in these tough times can only be a good thing and it's something councils see as one of their key roles."

He hit back against criticism that bureaucracy was getting in the way of people celebrating the royal wedding.

Yesterday, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps urged people to get involved, saying "bonkers" health and safety laws would not stop people having royal wedding street parties.

Mr White said many councils had waived road closure and insurance fees where possible and others had given out grants, with some putting together party packs for organisers.

"Despite sterling efforts in going above and beyond their statutory duties, council staff have had to shoulder repeated and often disingenuous claims of being overly-bureaucratic," he said. Durham County Council is aware of 13 street parties in areas including Durham Moor Crescent in Durham, Braemar Court in Consett, Dunelm Road in Thornley and Bailey Street in Tantobie.

In North Tyneside 31 outdoor celebrations are being staged in areas including North Shields, Howdon, West Allotment, Forest Hall, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth and Benton. …

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