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Road and property naming and numbering - guidelines and examples


Street naming and numbering is a statutory function. The relevant powers for local authorities are contained in:

  • Sections 64 and 65 of the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847
  • Sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Public Health Act of 1925

This legislation requires the local authority to prepare street naming and numbering schemes and to maintain a good standard of street nameplates. Both are essential for the efficient functioning of postal and emergency services as well as for the convenience and safety of the general public.

The above legislation makes it an offence for anyone to set up an address without the sanction of the Council or to use an address other than that which has been assigned. Therefore, anyone constructing a road that requires a name or property that requires a postal number should contact the Council. The Council's responsibilities include consulting the Royal Mail and notifying ward and parish councillors, emergency services and all relevant agencies on any proposals to name a new street or to rename an existing street, to inform all owner/occupiers of property naming and numbering orders and to enforce the legislation as required.

The Council's normal approach is to encourage occupiers to display the correct name/number in an appropriate manner. Where it is evident that failure to do so could result in lack of postal delivery services, or emergency services identifying the premises, then the Council will consider undertaking appropriate enforcement action.

It is to be remembered that the object of the exercise is to establish a unique, unambiguous and logical address for each property in the Borough with a view to ensuring, amongst other things, the effective delivery of mail and that emergency service vehicles are able to locate any address to which they may be summoned. To this end it is essential that all new developments are addressed, named and numbered correctly, and are issued a postcode by Royal Mail. This applies equally to both commercial and residential properties.

Royal Mail will not accept a new address or change of address intelligence from anybody other than the Council's Street Naming and Numbering Department.

Failure to apply for an official address will result in one automatically being issued for your property or properties. Once an address has been supplied under these circumstances it will not be open to change.

Any proposed street names which are subject to Section 18 of the Public Health Act of 1925 will be advertised on site by means of a notice, which will remain there for a statutory 28 days. Members of the public will be able to lodge an objection with the local Magistrates Court within 21 days of publication, if they wish to do so.

As far as street naming proposals are concerned, the Council is happy for developers or occupiers to propose their own preferred addresses for consideration, as long as they comply with the Street Naming and Numbering Policy (see 1. Naming streets in new developments); however, it is recommended that more than one suggestion for a new name should be put forward just in case one fails to meet the criteria outlined in this note.

If your proposals comply with the Council's policy, the new address will be formally allocated, and a letter will be sent out to the applicant to confirm the acceptance of the requested road name/addresses, including a specification sheet for street nameplates.

The Council, in offering this service, will undertake all necessary consultation and will inform all relevant agencies and Council departments within 21 days, a list of which will be sent out on completion.

Please note that once all relevant agencies have been notified it then becomes their responsibility to update their records and databases accordingly. The Council cannot be held responsible if they fail to do so and any complaints regarding this should be forwarded directly to either the agencies concerned or Royal Mail Head Office, as appropriate.

Developers are required to supply and erect all street nameplates for their own developments and are held responsible for ensuring that these are erected on new build streets before the occupation of any dwellings. Responsibility for the maintenance and replacement of street nameplates lies with Property and Asset Management. To report a problem with a street nameplate, or to get advice regarding their fixtures and fittings, please email

Guidelines and examples

1. Naming streets in new developments

Any new street name must not duplicate a name in existence in the local area. Varying the name by using a different terminal word (e.g. changing 'New Street' to 'New Road') is not acceptable. Please telephone us if you are unsure.

  • Names should be unambiguous and easy to pronounce and spell (to enable effective emergency service response).
  • Avoid having two phonetically similar names in the near vicinity, e.g. Churchill Road and Birch Hill Road.
  • Road names should have clear historical or local links to the area in which the street is situated. Supporting information must be provided.
  • Naming roads after members of the developer's family, or the company, is to be avoided unless they meet the required criteria listed above.
  • Naming of any roads, terraces or courtyards etc after 'living persons' is not acceptable.

If the developer is unable to suggest any names, the Council will be happy to assist.

It is to be remembered that the Council's decision is final.

The property developer should not give any postal addresses, including postcode, to potential occupiers, either directly or indirectly (for example via solicitors or estate agents) before we have issued formal approval. We will not be liable for any costs or damages caused by failure to comply with this.

The following guidelines set out the Council's criteria for street naming and numbering - variations from the general rule are sometimes allowed if considered appropriate.

2. Naming streets

All new street names should end with a terminal word, such as:

  • Road
  • Street
  • Avenue
  • Drive
  • Lane
  • Place
  • Garden
  • Crescent - for a crescent shaped road only
  • Close - for a cul-de-sac only
  • Square - for a square only
  • Terrace - for a terrace of houses
  • Mews - this is currently popular and is considered acceptable in appropriate circumstances; the term 'Mews' derives from private stables and is normally used to address a building or group of buildings which have been converted from stables into residential apartments, or a small street, alley, or courtyard on which such buildings stand

All new pedestrian ways may end with:

  • Walk
  • Path
  • Way

3. Erection of a new block of flats or conversion of a building into flats

Naming and numbering can be complex in buildings with flats; the following gives some basic guidance.

All named blocks should end with one of the following:

  • Court - for flats and other residential buildings
  • Mansion - other residential buildings
  • House - residential blocks or office
  • Point- high residential blocks only
  • Tower - high residential or office blocks

When new flats are numbered internally, they should be numbered not lettered, e.g. Flat 2, 21 Smith Street not Flat A, 21 Smith Street nor 21A Smith Street, which might already be used by an adjoining infill building. In a conversion of a property into flats previously numbered e.g. 25 High Street, the properties would be called successively from Flat 1, 25 High Street. If the building was called Norfolk House, the property would become, Flat 1, Norfolk House, 25 High Street.

4. Erection of houses following demolition of existing house

Legislation permits the use of a suffix, so if a house at 25 High Street is demolished and replaced by 3 new houses, they would become 25A, 25B and 25C High Street. This ensures that the street numbering is consistent and avoids the renumbering of the whole street.

5. Adding a house name to an existing number

If you wish to call your house a name, this is quite acceptable to the Council as long as you continue to use the street number. However, there should not be any duplication of any house names in an area. The Council will not formally allocate a name as part of an address unless it meets this criterion.

6. Numbering new streets

A new street is usually numbered with even numbers on the right (approaching from the town centre) and odd numbers on the left, except for a cul-de-sac where numbering is usually consecutive.

7. Renaming or renumbering of streets and buildings

The occupiers of houses on corners occasionally apply to change their addresses from one road to the other because they have altered their main access door to the house so that the entrance is facing an adjoining street. The manipulation of numbering in order to secure a 'prestige' address or to avoid an address which is thought to have undesired associations will not be sanctioned.


Why applying for an official address is important

Legislation requires that each property is assigned a formal address. Without this, occupiers may experience problems with postal deliveries, utilities connection, school registration and obtaining credit etc.

Street naming and numbering allows public service personnel to quickly locate the address they seek. This is particularly important when doctors, ambulance or fire crews are called out in an emergency, as any delay caused by confusion over an address could put lives at risk. Such services increasingly use satellite navigation systems for guidance, which are fed with approved addresses.

Displaying numbers

All properties are required under Sections 64 and 65 of the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 to display a number. Where a name has been allocated as well as a number, this must always be used in conjunction with the number. It cannot be regarded as an alternative. Regulations adopted by the Council require that the number shall be displayed to enable the Royal Mail, emergency services and occasional callers to readily identify the premises.

Every number of any buildings in any street should be marked either on the building, the entrance gate, boundary wall or fence immediately adjacent to the gate or entrance of said building, or in such a position as to be clearly visible from the street in which the building is situated. Bearing this in mind, erecting a plaque with numerals or letters of sufficient size is advisable.

Occupiers are obliged to replace house numbers if they become obliterated or defaced; and every such occupier who fails, within one week after notice for that purpose from the local authority, to renew such number when obliterated, can expect to have new numbers erected by the Authority, the expense being recoverable from the occupier as damages.

Use of No 13

A proper number sequence should be maintained; and particular numbers shall not be omitted from a sequence. Renumbering of an existing property is also not permitted.

Private garages/similar buildings

Private garages and similar buildings used only for housing cars, etc are not numbered.

Entrances in more than one street

If a building has entrances in more than one street but it is a multi-occupied building and each entrance leads to a separate occupier, then each entrance should be numbered in the appropriate road. Exceptions may be made depending on the circumstances for a house divided into flats. A named building may not have more than one number in one street.

Repetition and duplication

There should not be any duplication of any house names in an area as this could cause confusion and possibly delay when attending an emergency incident. Likewise, repetition of existing names in a road or building titles (for instance a request for St Margaret's House, St Margaret's Road) is not allowed. The Council will not formally allocate a name as part of an address unless it meets these criteria.

Marketing titles

The informal adoption of unofficial marketing titles used by developers in the sale of new properties is not allowed. They rarely meet our requirements and occupiers of such premises can feel aggrieved by the 'loss' of a supposedly prestigious address. It is therefore advisable to be cautious in the use of names for marketing purposes. It should be pointed out in any literature distributed to prospective purchasers, for example, that a marketing name will not be the final address.


The Council has no power to allocate postcodes; this is the remit of Royal Mail who will allocate them as necessary, working in conjunction with the local authority. Royal Mail will not assign a postcode until the Council has notified them of the official address in their capacity as the Street Naming and Numbering Authority.

Activation of address

Occupants of new dwellings will need to activate their address for delivery purposes via Royal Mail's online Report an incorrect or missing address form. The address will then be entered on the Royal Mail website under PAF (Postcode Address Finder). It is important that you ensure each new occupier is made aware of this requirement.

Street renaming/renumbering*

On rare occasions it becomes necessary to rename or renumber a street. This is usually only done as a last resort when the benefits clearly outweigh the obvious disadvantages, such as when:

  • a road closure is installed in a street, preventing through access and severing two parts of the street
  • there is sufficient confusion over a street's name and/or numbering
  • named-only properties in a street is deemed to be causing confusion for visitors, delivery or emergency services

The process is as follows:

  1. We will contact existing residents to take their views into account. To change a street name, we will ballot the local residents on the issue. A majority in support of the change would be required, but if valid objections are raised by a minority of people, these will be given due consideration.
  2. We will then consult the Royal Mail for their position on the issue.
  3. When we have an agreed name, we will register the street name(s) and prepare a numbering schedule.
  4. Notification will be sent to the appropriate ward/parish councillors.
  5. We will then send the new addresses to all relevant agencies, emergency services, and departments within the Council.

* This service may be chargeable.

Claims for compensation

The Council is not liable for any claims for compensation arising directly or indirectly from the naming of streets, renaming of streets, numbering or renumbering of properties.

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