1.    Introduction

Bath and North East Somerset Council has statutory powers to ensure that all streets and properties are correctly named and numbered within the District.  These powers derive from Public Health Act (1925)  and Towns Improvement Clauses Act (1847).

Street Naming and Numbering is an important function as it allows the Council to maintain a comprehensive and accurate address database covering all properties in Bath and North East Somerset Council. In turn this enables:-

  • Emergency Services to find a property quickly and effectively
  • Post to be delivered efficiently
  • Visitors to locate their destination
  • Statutory undertakers will not normally connect their services until such time as the premises have been given a formal postal address
  • Reliable delivery of services and goods by courier companies
  • Records of Service Providers to be kept in an efficient manner
  • Companies to accept an address for official purposes. For example, insurance, credit rating, contract acceptance

Many legal transactions associated with properties can be withheld until they are identified by a street name and number, for instance.

Royal Mail will not assign a postcode until the Local Authority has notified them of the official address as the Street Naming and Numbering Authority

The purpose of the street naming and numbering policy is to establish the correct process and procedures for the following activities:-

  • Naming of new streets and numbering properties on that street
  • Renaming an existing street or renumbering existing properties on a street
  • Numbering or Naming a new property
  • Renaming or Renumbering an existing property

Details of how properties and streets will be named and numbered are set out in the accompanying guidelines.

2. Types of Address

There are two forms of address in common use:

The Postal Address is the form of the address held by Royal Mail for the delivery of post. Royal Mail accept no responsibility for use of the postal address for any other purpose than delivery of mail by them.

The BS7666 Address is the form of the address which conforms to the national standard for addressing BS7666. This form of address is prescribed by the government for various statutory purposes such as planning applications and the electoral register. It is used in the council’s primary address register, the Local Land & Property Gazetteer (LLPG). It is also the basis of the National Address Gazetteer being introduced by the government during 2011 to provide a single address list across the whole public sector.

While the two forms of the address are often the same, they may not be. The differences between the two forms are set out in Appendix 1. Other forms of an address may exist (such as those on title deeds or held by third party databases) but have no legal standing.

3.  Street Naming and Numbering Process

(a)  Naming and Numbering of New Streets

Proposals for naming new streets are submitted by the developer in writing together with two copies of a site layout and location plan and the relevant fee. A copy of the developer’s site plan and proposed street name is forwarded to the relevant Town/Parish Council or Ward Councillor(s) for their consideration together with a request that they may also propose an appropriate street name. As far as possible, proposed names should reflect the history or geography of the site or the surrounding area.

Provided all parties are in agreement with the proposed street name(s) a “Notice of Intention” is erected on site for one month. If any member of the public objects to the street name(s) listed on the Notice of Intention they can appeal in writing to the local Magistrates Court within 21 days. Where no objections have been raised after that period of time the street(s) is formally named.

 If street names cannot be agreed between the developer and Town/Parish Councils or Ward Councillors, a report is submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council Scrutiny Panel or Executive Member for a final decision.

Numbering of properties is carried out by the Street Naming and Numbering Officer. There is no statutory consultation process.

Once street numbers have been allocated, the Street Naming and Numbering Officer will inform Royal Mail of the street name(s) and numbers of the new development and will request a postcode from Royal Mail. Once this has been received, the Street Naming and Numbering Officer will notify the developer in writing of full postal addresses (and BS7666 addresses if different) and enclose a marked up site layout plan showing allocated property numbers and street name(s). Emergency services, public utilities, Land Registry and departments within the Council are also notified.

(b)  Renaming an existing street

On rare occasions, it may be necessary to rename a street. This is usually carried out as a last resort when:-

  • There is confusion over a street’s name for visitors and/or emergency services are unable to locate properties effectively
  • A group of residents are unhappy with their street name

The statutory process is set out in section 18 of Public Health Act 1925.  

Prior to the statutory process, the relevant Town/Parish Councils or Ward Councillors would normally be consulted, along with the emergency services and occupiers of properties. Other parties may be consulted where appropriate.

Where the renaming of a street or part of a street would result in the change of Unique Street Reference Number in the National Street Gazetteer then the Local Street Gazetteer Custodian will be informed. Under streetworks legislation, the Local Street Gazetteer Custodian has a legal duty to consult with statutory interested parties prior to any change.

(c)  Renumbering properties within a street

On rare occasions, it may be necessary to rename or renumber a street. This is usually carried out as a last resort when:-

  • There is confusion over a street’s numbering
  • New properties are built and there is a need for other properties to be renumbered to accommodate the new properties.
  • The number of named-only properties in a street is deemed to be causing confusion for visitors and/or emergency services are unable to locate named properties effectively.

Although there is no statutory duty to consult anyone over such changes, the council may consult the relevant Town/Parish Councils, Ward Councillors, the emergency services or property owners if appropriate.

(d) Numbering and/or naming properties within an existing street

Requests for naming and/or numbering of properties are received in writing by developers or property owners. A check is carried out on the Land and Property Gazetteer database to ensure non-duplication of names and numbers. If a duplication of a name occurs or there are similarly named properties within the vicinity then the developer or owners are informed and an alternative name is submitted.

When numbers have been allocated, the developer or owner is notified in writing of the allocated postal address (and BS7666 address if different) with a request that the allocated name or number is clearly displayed onto front of the building before occupancy.

Where a property has a name as well as a number the owner is informed that the number takes precedence over the property name. Royal Mail, public utilities, emergency services and departments within the Council are also informed. However, Royal Mail will not normally record a name where the property has a number.

The council has powers of enforcement if numbers are not displayed.

(e) Change of House Names or Flat Numbers

Requests for renaming or renumbering a property must be received in writing by the owners of the property only and not tenants. We cannot formally change a property name where the property is in the process of being purchased until exchange of contracts. A check is carried out on the Land and Property Gazetteer database to ensure non-duplication of names and numbers. If there is a possibility of duplication then the owners are informed and an alternative name or number is proposed.

If an owner wishes to rename a building that is divided into flats or maisonettes, then evidence that they have notified all occupiers of that building of the proposed change should be supplied before renaming is carried out.

Once renaming/renumbering has taken place the owners and occupiers are notified in writing and the Land and Property Gazetteer is updated accordingly. Royal Mail, public utilities, emergency services and departments within the Council are also informed, either through the LLPG or with a marked copy of an Ordnance Survey map extract indicating the property and full postal address (and BS7666 address if different).

(f) Demolitions

Where a building is demolished then the existing numbering sequence is retained and reused as far as possible in any new development.

(g) Confirmation of Street Names and Postal Addresses

Requests are received from various departments within the Council and outside bodies e.g. solicitors, building societies, public utilities and Land Registry querying street names and postal addresses. Checks are made on the Council’s Land and Property Gazetteer Database and archived records to ensure the correct information is given.

4.  Powers used by Bath and North East Somerset Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council is responsible for ensuring streets are named and properties numbered and to check that authorised names and numbers are clearly displayed. Householders are responsible for actually erecting and maintaining the numbers. The power to name streets is given under the Public Health Act 1925 Sections 17, 18 and 19 and to number properties under the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 Sections 64 and 65.

Entry of properties in the LLPG is governed by BS7666, the Mapping Services Agreement (Public Sector Mapping Agreement from April 2011), the LLPG and LSG data entry conventions, and secondary legislation from various government departments.

The legal rights and responsibilities of the various parties are summarised in Appendix 2.

5. Charges for Street Naming and Numbering

Since 1st January 2011, in line with other councils, Bath and North East Somerset Council has charged for the discretionary naming and numbering services it provides. Discretionary services are those services that an authority has the power but not the duty to provide, as provided for under Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003. Charges cover services such as the administrative function of the service, working with Royal Mail, notifying Utilities and other bodies, and for registering non-statutory parts of the address such as property name.

Naming and Numbering charges will be made for the following services:-

  • Numbering new residential or commercial premises
  • Naming or numbering a new property
  • Renaming or renumbering an existing property/building
  • Enquiries from Solicitors and Building Societies

Charges will also be made for changing a street name unless there is an over-riding public interest for the name change.

Applicants must apply in writing by completing the relevant form, which can be found on the Council’s web site, together with the correct fee. All applications must be accompanied by a location plan. For new developments a site plan showing the road layout and plot numbers is also required. For developments that include flats, internal layout plans are required as well.

Address changes carried out without contacting us will not be formally registered with Royal Mail, utilities and other bodies if the relevant fee is not submitted. If an existing property is un-registered, an additional charge may be made for retrospectively registering an address. The Council has no obligation to register the address in the form hitherto used, and may register it in a different form if more appropriate or necessary to fit national standards.

January 2014


This appendix summarises the differences between the two types of address.

Address element Postal Address BS7666 Address
Flat number/name Not usually included Always included
Property number Always included   Always included
Property name  Only included if no number May be included for any property
Street name  Not always included in rural areas Always included
Locality/Village  Included where Royal Mail have operational need Included where such a name exists
Town     Included where Royal Mail have operational need Always included
Post town  Always included  

Recorded separately from actual town

Postcode    Always included where allocated Always included where allocated

Note that where a village or locality is recorded, it may not always be the same in the two types of addresses.


This appendix summarises who has the rights and responsibilities for each element of an address. 

Address element


Person or body with right to create or amend

Property Name


Property Owner

Property Number


Bath & North East Somerset Council

Street Name


Bath & North East Somerset Council

Post Town and Locality


Royal Mail
Post Code   Royal Mail

LLPG Town or Locality


Bath & North East Somerset Council

Your statutory rights if you disagree with a decision about your address:

House Numbers

The Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 provides no statutory rights of consultation, objection or appeal over property numbers.

Street Names

Section 18(4) of Public Health Act 1925 provides that anyone who wishes to object to a renaming of a street may appeal to the local magistrates court within 21 days of being given notice of the change.

Post codes, town and Localities

If you disagree with the Postcode, Post Town or Post Locality allocated to your address you should contact Royal Mail in the first instance. If you do not get a satisfactory answer from them, you may put your case to the Postal Review Panel and then, if necessary to the Postal Redress Service.

Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog gives details of how to contact these bodies on their website.


Download the Street naming and numbering policy in PDF format 51kb

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