Street naming and numbering

Pages in Street naming and numbering

  1. 1. Street naming and numbering
  2. 2. Apply for street naming and numbering
  3. 3. Street naming and numbering charges
  4. 4. You are here: Street naming and numbering policy
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4. Street naming and numbering policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose of policy
  3. Legal framework
  4. Operational guidance
  5. Summary
  6. Appendices

1. Introduction

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has a statutory obligation to supply and maintain an official street name and premises name or number for every property in the borough. This enables a proper response by the emergency services, utility companies and public services. It ensures that all residents and property owners have a verifiable street name and premises name or number for service provision and postal delivery. 

The Council’s role in overseeing the authoritative Local Land & Property Gazetteer (LLPG) is pivotal to the management of address data nationally, through the National Land & Property Gazetteer (NLPG) and British Standard 7666. This provides the foundation for effective and efficient operation of a range of public and private services.

2. Purpose of policy

The purpose of this policy and subsequent guidance is to provide advice to all applicants, particularly developers, property owners and residents, on the naming and numbering procedure of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council (hereafter known as ‘the Council’).

The Policy defines:

  • Legal framework for the operation of the Street Naming and Numbering (SNN) service
  • Operational guidance for the delivery of the service

3. Legal framework

The Council has adopted Sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Public Health Act 1925. Relevant extracts are shown in Appendix A.

Section 18 of the Public Health Act 1925 enables the Council to alter the name of a street and to give a name to an un-named street.

The Council does not have a statutory obligation to amend an existing premises name or number in line with property owners wishes; as such this is a discretionary service that we offer.

The adoption of Section 18 enables (under Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003) charging for SNN services.

Under Schedule 14 to the Local Government Act 1972, paragraphs 23, all provisions of the Public Health Acts (PHA) 1875 to 1925 apply throughout England and Wales, subject to specified exceptions. 

4. Operational guidance

Authority to perform the SNN function and fulfil the obligations of the Council under the Public Health Act 1925 is delegated to the relevant Head of Service.  The final decision on all matters pertaining to SNN will be made by the Head of Service.  The Head of Service is authorised to make amendments to this Policy in consultation with the relevant Executive member.

4.1 Application process

Applications for new or amended street names and premises names or numbers need to be submitted to the Council by the owner (or with written consent of the owner) of the affected properties. The application will be processed when all required information is received:

  • Completed application form and payment.
  • A site location plan clearly identifying the new scheme in relation to any existing Streets or means of access.
  • A detailed plan of the development clearly marked with the plot numbers of the proposed scheme.
  • An internal layout plan for developments which are subdivided at unit or floor level, for example, a block of flats or commercial, industrial units. The main entrance to each subdivision or block must be clearly marked.
  • A digital CAD/GIS file for applications of 10 units or more.
  • Planning application number – no new street names or premises names or numbers will be allocated without planning permission.

Developers should always apply directly to the Council at the earliest opportunity for the allocation of the official addresses, i.e., as soon as development starts.  Failure to do so can impact on the abilities of occupants to arrange basic service provision.

The Council will complete all necessary work and advise the applicant of the official street name or premises names or numbers in writing.  The Council prefers applicants to suggest names for proposed new streets, but will provide a suitable name, if required.  See Street Naming section.

On final delegated determination of the official address, the Council will notify the applicant along with other interested parties and the relevant internal and external bodies (see Appendix B).  There are no statutory requirements for Local Authorities to provide details of changes of existing or new developments to any external organisations.  However, it is recognised that the provision and sharing of this information facilitates joined-up and better service delivery to residents and businesses.

All SNN delegated determinations become official as soon as possible, typically in the first working week of the following month.

If the Council allocates an address to a premises which we believe does not have a valid form of planning permission, we will inform the Council’s Planning Enforcement and the Fraud and Financial Investigation Team about the suspected change of use. 

A variety of Council departments regularly monitor new developments to register properties for Council Tax (residential) or Non-Domestic Rates (commercial) databases. If it is identified at this time that an address has not been applied for, a SNN form will be sent to the developer and/or owner requesting an application to be completed. 

Developers should submit an application prior to works starting on site. All applications, including those made retrospectively, will incur relevant charges. No application will be processed without payment having been received. 

Where no application has been received (prior to the premises being deemed substantially complete by Council Tax / Non-Domestic Rates) and the developer does not respond within two working weeks to a letter requesting that they make an application for SNN, the Council reserves the right to allocate the official street name or premises names or numbers to any street or premises. Should the council exercise this right using statutory powers then its decision is final.

4.2 Postal addresses

Royal Mail has no statutory responsibilities or powers to either name a street or to name, number, rename or renumber a premises. Royal Mail has sole responsibility for assigning a postcode and postal town following notification of new or amended address details by the Council.

Applicants are reminded that postal addresses are not geographically accurate descriptions, but routing instructions for Royal Mail staff. It is possible that postal addresses can contain names for villages and towns that may be several miles away from the actual location of their premises. Where applicants object to a locality name in their postal address, they are advised to contact the Royal Mail who have a procedure for adding or amending these details.

A piece of land cannot be given a postal address, only premises capable of receiving mail can be allocated a postal address for the purposes of delivering mail and services. Royal Mail will only register properties which have their own entrance and/or their own secure letter box.

The Council has no authority over the allocation of a postcode and postal town; these are defined by Royal Mail for their operational purposes. As part of the SNN procedure the Council will undertake the process of arranging for the allocation of a postcode and postal town on the applicant’s behalf and inform the applicant and other interested parties. All other elements of an address (e.g. premises numbers, names, street names) are defined by the Council.

Royal Mail does not publish addresses on its website where the construction is not complete.  This means that in some instances addresses that have been officially allocated and issued by the Council may not, for a while, be visible on the Royal Mail website. This may also mean that other organisations using the Royal Mail database (Postal Address File) will also be unable to validate an address. The Council is not liable or responsible for third parties, including Royal Mail, updating their databases with official address information.

The allocation of postal addresses does not serve as confirmation that any building or structure has been authorised under Planning, Building Regulations or any other legislation. Owners / Occupiers may be at risk of enforcement action if the necessary approvals have not been obtained.

4.3 Right of appeal and complaints

If any applicant or interested party wishes to appeal against a decision of the Council they should first seek to do so through the Council’s official complaints' procedure.

Applicants also have a right to seek redress through the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman or by way of appeal to the Magistrates Court.

4.4 Use of unapproved names for marketing

A property developer or builder must not give any postal addresses, or postcodes, to potential occupiers (for example via solicitors or estate agents) before formal approval has been issued by the Council, because it is likely that any plot or unit naming/numbering system used will not meet the requirements of the Council. 

If an application is submitted to the Council at a late stage and is subsequently rejected, numerous problems can arise, especially if purchasers have bought properties marketed under an unapproved name.  It is therefore advisable to be cautious in the use of the names for marketing purposes if the name has not been officially accepted. The Council will not be liable for any costs or damages caused by failure to comply with this.

4.5 Street naming

This policy applies to both public and private roads.  All roads start their life as private until the Highway Authority (Surrey County Council) adopts them.

All applications for a street name go through a consultation process both internally and with Royal Mail. Once the street name prefix is agreed with the applicant, it will be passed to both Royal Mail and to the appropriate Ward Councillors for comment.  Emergency services may also be consulted on certain developments. 

The applicant is expected to provide street name suggestions for consideration where appropriate, and preference will be given to street names with some connection to the site, either historical or geographical. 

If the applicant is unsure of what to suggest for consideration, the Council will undertake research and suggest appropriate street name prefixes, for which there is an additional fee. Where no proposals are offered and research is declined, the Council reserves the right to assign a street prefix from an existing pre-approved list.

The naming of a street does not imply that the street will be adopted and become publicly maintained; this is decided by the Highway Authority.

 All proposed street names must meet the following criteria:

  • Does not duplicate an existing street or building name in the relevant postal sector (e.g., KT20 6).
  • Is not offensive or aesthetically unsuitable.
  • Is easy and straight-forward to spell/pronounce and not phonetically similar to an existing street within the postal sector (e.g., KT20 6).
  • Avoid street names which include numbers.
  • Avoid names and their combination with numbers that could be easily vandalised or altered.
  • The use of North, West, and Upper etc. is only acceptable where the street is continuous and passes over a major junction and is an accurate description of the street’s location.
  • Avoids punctuation, including apostrophes.
  • Does not promote a company, service or product – the only exception is if the company no longer exists and has historical context.
  • Is not named after a living person.  Proposals to name after a deceased person should follow the specific guidelines below.
  • No street name should start with ‘The’.
  • Avoid use of tree names - unless the tree name has local relevance.  The reasoning being that the Borough has an abundance of existing streets named after trees.

Any applications received will be checked against these criteria as part of the application process.

For large developments, a list of street names will be approved in advance and be allocated as the development progresses.

The Council will not adopt any unofficial marketing titles used by developers.  It is strongly advised that prospective buyers are advised of this.

Permission to use the word ‘Royal’ or other names/titles of the Royal Family must be obtained from the Cabinet Office before a street naming application is submitted.

For recommended street name suffixes see Appendix C.

4.5.1 Renaming existing streets

On occasion the Council is required to rename an existing street.  This will only be considered when there is confusion over a street name or premises name or numbering system causing a significant issue for emergency services, deliveries & visitors or the residents are unhappy with their street name.  Renaming a street is always a last resort.

In such instances, it is the responsibility of those requesting the change to canvass existing residents, conduct a ballot and consult Royal Mail.  This evidence should be submitted to the Council.  To change a street name the Council requires 100% of premises owners to agree.

All costs, except in exceptional circumstances, associated with a name/number change will be met by those requesting the change.

Notification letters will be sent to occupiers if there is a change of street name, re-numbering, or a numbering allocation to properties with just house names. In making such changes the Council is exercising statutory powers and its decision is final.

4.6 Premises naming or numbering

The Council will name or number premises in accordance with national guidelines and ensuring compliance with BS7666.

It is a legal requirement under the Public Health Act 1925 that there is adequate signage erected in a clear, prominent position showing any street names and sub names (for terrace or block names).  On new developments, it is the developers’ responsibility to erect the appropriate signage once the premises are ready for occupation.

In addition, where an occupier fails to display the appropriate signage within one week from receiving notice from the Council, they may be liable to a penalty under section 19 of the Public Health Act 1925 and section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982. The Council may also choose to mark the properties with essential signage as per the official numbering scheme and reclaim the costs from the occupier.

4.6.1 Numbering premises on a new street

For all premises on new streets the Council will apply a numbering process in accordance with national guidelines.  Premises will be numbered from the street on which the premises’ primary access and delivery point are located.  The following criteria must be met:

  • All premises will be allocated a number – the Council will not consider name-only premises on new streets.
  • Proper numbering sequence shall be maintained and numbers with superstitious, religious, or cultural connotations will not be omitted.
  • When an existing street is extended, where appropriate, the existing numbering sequence will continue.
  • All flatted accommodation must be given individual numbers where possible; the sequence will depend on the front door locations of individual properties. e.g. Flats 1-5, 67 High Street.
  • If a multiple occupancy building has entrances in more than one street, then each entrance can be numbered from the appropriate street, if required.
  • A business name shall not take the place of a number or building name, where the business premises has a number e.g. 57 High Street will be displayed.
  • Numbering will be allocated with even numbers on one side of the road and odd numbers on the other.
  • Where a cul-de-sac is proposed, the numbering shall be consecutive and in a clockwise direction if possible.

4.6.2 Numbering or renumbering premises on an existing street

For all new development sites and for infill plots on existing numbered streets, the Council will apply a numbering process in accordance with national guidelines.  Premises will be numbered from the street on which the premises’ primary access and delivery point are located.  The following criteria must be met:

  • For new premises on streets with no existing numbering system, the Council will allocate a premises name in conjunction with the applicant
  • When new premises are built on an existing street and there are no available numbers a letter shall be used as a suffix, e.g., 12A.
  • Proper sequence shall be maintained and numbers with superstitious, religious, or cultural connotations will not be omitted.
  • The Council will not remove numbers from existing premises unless it is necessary to resolve existing duplication/identification problems.
  • When a premises is converted into flats or subdivided, the new premises must be numbered. E.g., Flats 1-5, 67 High Street.
  • A business name shall not take the place of a number or building name.
  • Private garages or similar outbuildings will not be numbered.

4.6.3 Naming or renaming premises on a new or existing street

If a new premises owner wishes to rename a premises, it is their responsibility to suggest names for consideration in the supporting application.  All premises/building name applications go through a consultation process.  Royal Mail will only accept name changes supplied by the Council.

We cannot formally change a premises name where the premises is in the process of being purchased, until after completion, although we can give guidance on the acceptability of a chosen name.

Replacement premises are required to go through the SNN process, even when a single premises is demolished and rebuilt.

Proposed premises names must meet the following criteria:

  • Does not duplicate the street name on which it is associated with unless there is a local or historical reason to do so.
  • Does not duplicate an existing building name on the same street or postal sector (this will be checked as part of the application process).
  • Is not offensive or aesthetically unsuitable.
  • Is easy and straightforward to spell/pronounce.
  • Is not named after a living person.  Proposals to name after a deceased person should follow the specific guidelines below.
  • New building names should not begin with “The”.
  • Avoid the use of names that can be construed as being used for advertising, marketing or commercial gain.
  • If a premises has a number, it is not possible to replace the number with a name. Names are held in addition to the number.

It is recommended that the following themes are avoided for premises names as the proposed name is likely to be refused due to a saturation of properties using these themes:

  • Trees
  • Golf courses
  • Castles
  • Tudor dynasty

All building suffixes must be appropriate for new properties, for example, Court should be used on a building of relevant size and layout.  The building name should not mislead.  Refer to appendix C for further information.

4.7 Naming a street or building after a deceased person

The Council will only name a street or premises as a memorial to a person that has been deceased for more than 40 years.  Consideration will be given to the possible sensitivities that may arise from naming streets or premises after public figures, and to the possibility that the public perception of a deceased person may change in the future.  The individual must also have a significant and demonstrable connection to the site in question.  Surnames only will be used, as opposed to full names, to avoid confusion in times of emergency.

4.7.1 Exceptions to naming a street or building after a deceased person

The Council will only accept a proposal to name a street or premises after a recently deceased person where the individual died whilst on active military service either as a direct result of that service or from injuries sustained.  A significant and demonstrable connection to the locality in question is essential.  Written consent will be required from the deceased’s relatives/estate.

The use of this exception will be given consideration and justifications will be required of the exceptional circumstances.

4.8 Street name plates

It is unlawful to erect a street nameplate until the street name has been confirmed in writing by the Council.

Maintenance of street nameplates only becomes the responsibility of the Council once a street has been adopted by Surrey County Council as the Local Highway Authority.  The Council only has a responsibility to maintain nameplates at the entrance/exit of a street and repeaters as required.

The Council will erect and maintain street nameplates for roads as required and not for individual accesses or blocks of flats.

New street nameplates will be provided and paid for by the developer/proposer. 

For further specifications on street nameplates see Appendix D.

4.9 Exclusions

The Council is not responsible for the following:

  • Postcodes – the Council does not issue Postcodes; this is the responsibility of Royal Mail.  Royal Mail will not assign a postcode to new premises without official notification from the Council.
  • Failed delivery of items to the official address – this is the responsibility of the delivery service.
  • Third Party databases – the Council has no responsibility for, or control over, the way that third parties manage their address databases and the frequency with which they update them.
  • Third Party maps (including satellite navigation systems and Ordnance Survey) not showing new properties, streets or roads.
  • Having an officially allocated street name is not an indication that the road is publicly maintained or will become adopted by the Highway Authority.

5. Summary

This policy sets out the operational framework for the delivery of the Council’s SNN function.  It also confirms delegation of authority to the Council’s Head of Service for the official determination of applications for street naming and numbering, and the allocation and amendment of official street names, premises names and numbering sequences.

The SNN process is complex and involves a variety of processes to be undertaken to ensure an accurate address. As part of the process several key steps are undertaken these include but are not limited to -:

  1. The customer (developer/homeowner) is asked to submit an application for their desired address to the Council’s Street Naming & Numbering function.
  2. Applications are checked against SNN Policy and the Council’s LLPG, along with ensuring any outcome would be in-keeping with national best practice.
  3. We ask that customers check their proposals initially against Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF) prior to applying to the Council, which will then carry out additional checks (and if appropriate consult emergency services and official bodies) before approving any scheme.
  4. We undertake the creation of plot records/address(es) and enter these into the Council’s LLPG in addition to the preparation of plot to postal schedules, site setting plans and any other necessary supporting documentation
  5. In the case of new street names, the names are also sent to local Ward Councillors for comment, along with emergency services and official bodies.
  6. Once the Council has approved the street name or premises name/numbering sequence will be signed off, under delegated authority, by the Head of Service and official confirmation will be sent to the applicant (developer/homeowner).
  7. All appropriate internal and external bodies will be informed by the Council.
  8. The postcode will be allocated by Royal Mail.

5.1 Contact details:

Street Naming and Numbering,
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council,
Town Hall,
Castlefield Road,
Telephone: 01737 276 000


Appendix A. Legal framework - part II

Public Health Act 1925: Section 17 - Notice to authority before street is named.

(1) Before any street is given a name, notice of the proposed name shall be sent to the urban authority by the person proposing to name the street.
(2) The urban authority, within one month after the receipt of such notice, may, by notice in writing served on the person by whom notice of the proposed name of the street was sent, object to the proposed name.
(3) It shall not be lawful to set up in any street an inscription of the name thereof —
    (a) until the expiration of one month after notice of the proposed name has been sent to the urban authority under this section; and
    (b) where the urban authority have objected to the proposed name, unless and until such objection has been withdrawn by the urban authority or overruled on appeal;
    and any person acting in contravention of this provision shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale and to a daily penalty not exceeding £1.
(4) Where the urban authority serve a notice of objection under this section, the person proposing to name the street may, within twenty-one days after the service of the notice, appeal against the objection to a petty sessional court;

Public Health Act 1925: Section 18 - Alteration of name of street.

(1) The urban authority by order may alter the name of any street, or part of a street, or may assign a name to any street, or part of a street, to which a name has not been given.
(2) Not less than one month before making an order under this section, the urban authority shall cause notice of the intended order to be posted at each end of the street, or part of the street, or in some conspicuous position in the street or part affected.
(3) Every such notice shall contain a statement that the intended order may be made by the urban authority on or at any time after the day named in the notice, and that an appeal will lie under this Act to a petty sessional court against the intended order at the instance of any person aggrieved.
(4) Any person aggrieved by the intended order of the local authority may, within twenty-one days after the posting of the notice, appeal to a petty sessional court.

Public Health Act 1925: Section 19 - Indication of name of street.

(1) The urban authority shall cause the name of every street to be painted, or otherwise marked, in a conspicuous position on any house, building or erection in or near the street, and shall from time to time alter or renew such inscription of the name of any street, if and when the name of the street is altered or the inscription becomes illegible.
(2) If any person, pulls down any inscription of the name of a street which has lawfully been set up, or sets up in any street any name different from the name lawfully given to the street, or places or affixes any notice or advertisement within twelve inches of any name of a street marked on a house, building, or erection in pursuance of this section, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale and to a daily penalty not exceeding £1. - section 93

Local Government Act 2003: Section 93 - Power to charge for discretionary services

1. Subject to the following provisions, a best value authority may charge a person for providing a service to him if —
    (a) the authority is authorised, but not required, by an enactment to provide the service to him, and
    (b) he has agreed to its provision.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the authority —
    (a) has power apart from this section to charge for the provision of the service, or
    (b) is expressly prohibited from charging for the provision of the service.
(3) The power under subsection (1) is subject to a duty to secure that, taking one financial year with another, the income from charges under that subsection does not exceed the costs of provision.
(4) The duty under subsection (3) shall apply separately in relation to each kind of service.
(5) Within the framework set by subsections (3) and (4), a best value authority may set charges as it thinks fit and may, in particular —
    (a) charge only some persons for providing a service;
    (b) charge different persons different amounts for the provision of a service.
(6) In carrying out functions under this section, a best value authority shall have regard to such guidance as the appropriate person may issue.
(7) The following shall be disregarded for the purposes of subsection (2)(b) —
    (a) section 111(3) of the Local Government Act 1972 (subsidiary powers of local authorities not to include power to raise money),
    (b) section 34(2) of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (corresponding provision for Greater London Authority), and
    (c) section 3(2) of the Local Government Act 2000 (well-being powers not to include power to raise money).
(8) In subsection (1), “enactment” includes an enactment comprised in subordinate legislation (within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978).

Appendix B – Consultees and notifications

Internal bodies that may be informed of official SNN notifications include:

  • Council Tax & Non-Domestic Rates
  • Electoral Registration
  • Environmental Health
  • Fraud & Financial Investigation Team
  • Land Charges
  • Planning Development Control
  • Planning Enforcement
  • Refuse & Recycling

External bodies that may be informed of official SNN notifications include:

  • BT Openreach
  • Land Registry
  • National Land & Property Gazetteer (NLPG)
  • Royal Mail
  • Scotia Gas Networks
  • South East Coast Ambulance service
  • Southern Building Control
  • Surrey County Council
  • Surrey Fire & Rescue
  • Surrey Police
  • Thames Water / Sutton & East Surrey Water

Appendix C – Street name suffixes

The following suffixes will only be used as indicated:

  • Street – any thoroughfare
  • Road – any thoroughfare
  • Way – major road
  • Avenue – residential road
  • Drive – residential road
  • Grove – residential road
  • Lane – residential road
  • Rise – hillside only
  • Row – usually a terrace of houses
  • Crescent – crescent shaped roads only
  • Close – cul-de-sac only
  • Square – square only
  • Hill – hillside only
  • Terrace – terrace of houses
  • Mews – officially a term for converted stables but may be considered for other small developments (ten units or less)
  • Gardens – subject to there being no confusion with any local open space
  • Circus – large roundabout only

All pedestrian only routes should be named as follows:

  • Walk
  • Path
  • Way

All Named Blocks should end with one of the following (in addition they should not begin with ‘The’):

  • House – residential or office blocks
  • Court – residential blocks
  • Point – high residential blocks only
  • Tower – high residential or office block only
  • Parade – row of shops/businesses

Appendix D – Street name plates

All enquiries about street nameplates should be made to Customer Contact via our website.

Specifications are set out in the table below.

  • Plates: 3 mm composite
  • Plate depth: 145 mm, increased where required
  • Lettering height: 89 mm Kindersley
  • Lettering colour: white
  • Border size: 12.5 mm
  • Border colour: white
  • Background colour: dark green
  • Reverse colour: white
  • Symbols: such as 'No through road' to Diag.816.1,
    Pedestrians, Arrow, may be added if required
  • Crest: no
  • Finish:
    • non-reflective background
    • printed – colour on to white
    • anti-graffiti over laminate
  • Drilling: drilled every 150 mm for supports, or six holes for wall fix
  • Strengthening: plates secured to 150 mm x 30 mm recycled plastic backboards with screws every 150 mm, white anti-vandal screws
  • Clips:
    • 2no. M8 s/s bolts per post to attach backboard to support
    • bolt head and nut recessed into plastic, nut head to be capped
  • Supports:
    • 2no. per assembly, 1.35 m x 80 mm x 80 mm recycled plastic
    • square ends, square tops
  • Support finish: solid recycled plastic
  • Support colour: black

Appendix E – Charges

All fees and charges will be published on the Council’s website.  Charging levels will be kept under review by the Head of Service in consultation with the relevant Executive member.

Appendix F – Pre-approved Street prefixes

A list of recommended name prefixes is available on the Council’s website and will be periodically refreshed as they are allocated, and new research generates more. Due to historical and geographical links, some prefixes are only applicable to certain locations.