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Street Naming and Numbering policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Street Naming and Numbering is carried out by Swale Borough Council under the Public Health Act 1925.

1.2 The address of a property is an increasingly important issue. It is vital that the Emergency Services can locate a property quickly and efficiently. If a property is not registered, the owner or occupier can experience problems in obtaining goods and services, such as applying for a credit card or goods bought by mail order. The reason for this is because the address will not appear on the main database held by the Royal Mail Address Management Centre which is the central post code for the South East Region; it is this information that is purchased by other organisations, therefore if the address is not shown they will assume the property does not exist.

1.3 The Council has the responsibility to maintain a Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) which is a database of property addresses within Swale. This information also feeds into the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG). The purpose of this control is to make sure that any new street names and building names and numbers are allocated logically. It should be noted that the LLPG provides geographic location information for all properties in the Borough and whilst most addresses are the same as those held by the Royal Mail for postal delivery services there will be some incidences of variation in address format between that held by Royal Mail and within the Council's LLPG.

A postal address comprises:

2. Postcodes

2.1 Swale Borough Council is not responsible for issuing new postcodes; this is the responsibility of Royal Mail. Royal Mail, however, will not issue a postcode for a new street or property until requested to do so by the Council. For any complaints relating to the delivery of mail the occupier should contact the Royal Mail Customer Services.

2.2 Postcodes for commercial premises are allocated in the same way as residential premises, but a large company or business can apply to Royal Mail for its own code - known as a large user code. Application for a large user code is the responsibility of the user, as they will know what volume of mail they generate. Enquiries about postcodes can be dealt with direct at: Royal Mail Address Management Centre, Castle Foregate, Shrewsbury SY1 1AA Telephone 0845 604 5060 Fax 0845 604 4433. Searches for postcodes can also be carried out on the Royal Mail Website.

3. Planning Permission

3.1 We are unable to process any application unless Planning Permission has been granted.

4. Property Developer 

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

4.2 Once building has commenced, we would advise you to wait until the first level has been completed, in case changes are made to the final layouts, it can make the numbering difficult to change once it has been agreed. On larger developments, sometimes the houses are built in phases, we will try and make allowances in the numbering to accommodate subsequent phases.

4.3 To shorten the road naming process it is recommended that the developer consults with the local community, Parish/Town Council and local councillors for suggested names for new roads prior to submission. This encourages the use of names that reflect the local history and character of the area when deciding preference will be given to local community suggestions.

4.4 The developer will cover the initial costs of the street nameplates.

5. Road Naming

5.1 If a new development is to be named and numbered please include a location plan that shows all the plots concerned marked with plot numbers and proposed street/road names. Please include floor plans for flats to indicate which levels these refer to so that the allocated numbering will be logical. The numbering will be carried out by Swale Borough Council in accordance with standard procedure. Numbers rather than names will be allocated wherever possible on all new buildings.

5.2 You may make three suggestions for street names, stating the order of preference. Suggested names will not be accepted if they are likely to cause offence or will duplicate the name of another property/street, which would cause confusion. Naming after a person still living (full name, first and last), or other organisations or companies etc. will not be permitted. However, using just the first or last name of a person still living may be acceptable (see paragraph 5.3 below).

5.3 A forename and surname together which relates to a person or family should be avoided. A forename or surname on there own is more acceptable if related to the area. Only in exceptional circumstances will a suggested name be given consideration. The person or family must have lived in the town or village in question and added something to the history of the area. This information can be gained through local community groups and Parish/Town Council consultation. Agreement from the person's family or estate administrators should be obtained by the applicant and a copy sent to the Council attached to the application. Naming a road after members of the developer's family will also be avoided.

5.4 It is the policy of the Council to consult with the appropriate Local Councillor and Parish or Town Council on proposed street and road names. The period allowed for consultation shall be 14 days from the date of the covering letter to the Ward and Parish Councillors. The stipulated 'deadline' date will be strictly adhered to.

5.5 If by the stipulated 'deadline' date, one of the offered names is considered acceptable by all or a majority of the consulters then that name will be forwarded to the Royal Mail.

5.6 If no response is received from those consulted by the specified 'deadline' date then the Street Name and Numbering section and LLPG officer will select one of the three preferred names, in consultation with the relevant Ward Member/members or portfolio holder.

5.7 If none of the suggested names are considered acceptable by the Ward and Parish Councillors and they have submitted their own preferred name, the developer will be immediately informed, by a written notice of objection to their preferred name. In serving a written notice of objection, the developer will be asked to accept the name put forward by the Ward and Parish Councillors. If the developer declines, they have under the Public Health Act 1925, Section 17 (4) the legal right to appeal to a Magistrates' Court within 21 days of the service of notice of objection. In such circumstances the Council will have to give evidence before the Magistrates should this be necessary with the appropriate Ward Member/Members in attendance.

5.8 Street names should not be difficult to pronounce or awkward to spell or capable of deliberate misinterpretation.

5.9 Private houses should not repeat the name of the road or that of any other house or building in the area.

5.10 Where a new road is an extension of an existing road it is not normally necessary to give that section a new name.

5.11 Where an area, field or previous building has names or other things, such as plants and activities etc., historically associated with it, it is usual to preserve these in street names. Where there is no information to suggest a road name, a new one will be chosen.

5.12 If a "local" name is not suitable then there is no reason why any attractive name cannot be chosen. Where several roads are involved, a "theme" linking the names can be used to help identify the area.

5.13 We will not name roads with less than 6 properties where they can be numbered as part of a primary road, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

5.14 The following is a list of possible suffixes

SuffixReason for use:
Avenue For residential roads
Close For a cul-de-sac only
Court For small enclosures
Crescent For a crescent shaped road
Drive For residential roads
Edge For residential roads
End For a road with only one entrance/exit
Farm For residential roads
Field (s) For residential roads
Gardens Subject to there being no confusion with any local open space
Grange Large House in courtyard with farm buildings connected to it
Green For residential roads
Grove For residential roads
Hill For a hill only
Lane For development of an historic by way and for residential roads
Mead /Wharf For residential roads. Only for exceptional circumstances. Near a navigable water course
Meadow For residential roads
Mews This is currently popular and is considered acceptable in appropriate circumstances, provided it does not repeat the name of the road from which access is gained. In past used for keeping horses now used as a home.
Orchard For residential roads
Paddock For residential roads
Park For residential roads
Place Subject to there being no confusion with any local open space
Rise / Row For residential roads. Only for exceptional circumstances
Road For any thoroughfare
Square For a square only
Street For any thoroughfare
Terrace For a terrace of houses but NOT as a subsidiary name within another name
Vale / Dene For residential roads. Only for exceptional circumstances
View For residential roads
Way For a major road
Yard For residential roads
All named blocks should
end with one of the following
  • Court - for flats and other residential buildings
  • Mansions - other residential buildings. Very large expensive house. Building containing apartments
  • House - residential blocks only
  • Lodge - residential only. Small House in country or one on land owned by a large house
  • Point - high residential blocks only. Area of land that stretches out into the sun
  • Tower - high residential or office blocks
All new pedestrian ways should end with Walk / Path / Alley

6. Naming of Unnamed Roads

6.1 We will informally consult with Town and Parish Councils where necessary when there is the need for local knowledge regarding anything to do with existing street names e.g. where specified streets start and finish.

6.2 There may be instances where a road has been formally named by the Council but does not appear on Royal Mail's Postal Address file. We will try and resolve these discrepancies wherever possible.

7. Renaming a Street / Renumbering Properties

7.1 Renaming an existing street / renumbering properties within an existing street is to be avoided as it is extremely expensive for the householder, (£1,000 or more) unless the benefits to their safety clearly outweighs the obvious disadvantages.

7.2 It is the responsibility if those requesting the change to canvass existing residents and conduct a ballot with the local residents on the issue. This will ensure that residents views are taken into account and the results must be submitted to the Council. To change a street name we will require 75% support from the local residents on the issue as any subsequent change can be very disruptive and cause individuals to have to change all their personal address details. The consultation process referred to in this document will be implemented before any agreement is given. This is a very time consuming process and can be very emotive for those involved and should therefore only be contemplated as a last resort.

8. Numbering / Naming Properties 

8.1 Properties in a new street will be numbered with even numbers on the right side and odd numbers on the left except that, for a cul-de-sac, consecutive numbering in a clockwise direction is preferred. A proper sequence shall be maintained including the number 13.

8.2 Buildings (including those on corner site) are numbered according to the street in which the main entrance is to be found and 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.

8.3 In circumstances where an existing street or similar is extended, it would be appropriate to continue to use the same street name. This would be subject to the limitations of the existing numbering scheme.

8.4 In a block of flats it is usual to give a street number to each dwelling where the block is up to six storeys in height. When the block exceeds this height or there are not sufficient numbers available because of existing development, it should be given a name and numbered separately internally.

8.5 Legislation permits the use of numbers followed by letters. These are needed when for example a large house in a road is demolished and replaced by more than one property. To include the new properties in the numbered road sequence would involve renumbering all the higher numbered properties on that side of the road, which is unacceptable. Therefore to avoid this each new property will be given the number of the old house with A, B, C etc added.

8.6 Where a property has a number, it must be used and displayed. Where a name has been chosen to a property with a number, the number must always be included; the name cannot be regarded as an alternative. The property name and number must be clearly displayed on the property and be visible from the highway.

8.7 For private houses in existing unnumbered roads it is essential that the houses are officially allocated names. The name should not repeat the name of the road or that of any other house or building in the area. Anyone wishing to change the name of their unnumbered house must complete the application form, name change section. It is the responsibility of the person requesting the change to notify all their personal contacts.

8.9 Anyone in the process of buying a house but does not like the property name, must wait until after the completion date of the house sale before applying to change it.

8.10 Requests for changes can only be accepted from the owners of properties and not tenants. Tenants wishing to change the name of the property should make their request to the property's owner who, if they agree, will then apply to Swale Borough Council to change the name.

8.11 Infill plots. Properties built between existing properties or in the grounds if an existing property, will be given the same house number before the infill followed by suffix of A, B etc.

8.12 Number one will always be on the left-hand side of the road. Through roads are numbered odds and evens in the direction they would be accessed from the centre of the town or community. Odds will be on left and evens on the right when travelling away from the Town Centre, however, numbering also depends on the layout of the development and roads.

8.13 Cul-de-sacs are usually numbered sequentially in a clockwise direction starting with number one on the left-hand side of the entrance to the cul-de-sac. Where it is apparent there is a possibility of a cul-de-sac being extended at some time in the future and where it is appropriate, number the sides odds and evens rather than sequentially to allow the numbering scheme to be extended at a future date.

8.14 Where a property has a number, it must be clearly displayed. Where a name has been chosen for a property with a number, only the number will form part of the official address. The name cannot be regarded officially as an alternative. This is enforceable under Public Health Act 1925.

9. Street nameplates

9.1 Developers will normally be expected to pay for and install nameplates for all new streets to the Council's specification. The developer will agree the proposed locations of the nameplates with Kent County Council.

9.2 The Council will attempt to ensure that, in due course and subject to available resources that every populated road in the district will have nameplates.

10. Notification

10.1 We will notify the following of any numbering, re-numbering, naming or renaming

11. Claims for compensation

11.1 Swale Borough Council is not liable for any claims for compensation arising directly or indirectly from the naming of roads, numbering or re-numbering of properties.

12. Decision and Discretion

12.1 The Council's decision is final for the naming of roads, re-naming of roads, numbering or re-numbering and is at the discretion of the Head of Service Delivery in consultation with the Portfolio Holder/Ward Councillor.

13. The Council is not responsible for the following:

Return to the main Swale Borough Council website - Street Naming and Numbering page.

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