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Road and property naming and numbering - guidelines and examples


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.

Last modified on 24 September 2022

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