Bath & North
Street Naming and Numbering Policy V5 November 2018
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 to connect their services to premises and link them to a postal address for billing
- 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.
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.
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 which, through Ordnance Survey’s AddressBase product, provides 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.
Street Naming and Numbering Process
3.1 Naming of New Streets
3.1.1 Submission of proposed names
Developers are encouraged to consult with the local community at the outset before formally applying to the Council for street names. Outside Bath, the appropriate body is the town or parish council. In Bath city, where there is no town or parish council, developers should submit their proposals to the Bath City Forum, who act in lieu of a parish council.
Proposals for naming new streets should be submitted by the developer online wherever possible, together with an electronic copy of a site layout and location plan, the reason for the choice of name, and the relevant fee. Where a developer has already agreed a proposed name with a local Town/Parish council or the Bath City Forum, a copy of their letter of agreement to the proposal should also be included.
The Council has no statutory duty to consult on street names. However, where a developer has not already agreed a proposed name with the relevant Town/Parish council (or Bath City Forum), a copy of the developer’s site plan and proposed street name will be forwarded to them for their consideration together with the option that they may also propose an appropriate street name.
3.1.2 Choice of street names
As far as possible, proposed names should reflect the history or geography of the site or the surrounding area. Names should not be identical or similar to existing street names in the vicinity.
Names should be unambiguous to spell and pronounce.
The Council does not generally accept the names of living people for street names. Details of exceptions to this and procedures for agreeing them are given in the Street Naming and Numbering Guidelines.
Names must not advertise a product or business.
Further details on choice of names are given in the Guidelines.
3.1.3 Statutory procedure
Once there is agreement with the proposed street name(s), a “Notice of Intention” is erected on site for one month. For this to happen, the street must either meet the criteria of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (“laid out as a way whether it is for the time being formed as a way or not”) or the applicant has entered into agreement with the Council for the legal existence of the street (for example a bond under the Advancement Payment Code in Sections 219-225 Highways Act 1980). This is to ensure that names are not created for streets which never come to exist.
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.
If street names cannot be agreed between the developer, Town/Parish Councils (or Bath City Forum) and Bath & North East Somerset Council, then the Council will use its statutory powers to make the decision on the name. Where there is significant public interest in the name of a street, a report may be submitted to the Divisional Director who may make the decision or forward it to the Executive Member for a final decision. A “Notice of Intention” will then be erected, as above.
If there are no objections lodged at the Magistrates’ Court within the prescribed period, the Council will then create and publish the legal order to name the street.
3.2 Numbering of New Streets
Numbering of properties is carried out by the Street Naming and Numbering Officer. There is no statutory consultation process, and no right of objection or appeal. Numbers are sequential and no numbers are omitted.
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. When 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.
3.3 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 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.
3.4 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, the emergency services or property owners if appropriate.
3.5 Numbering and/or naming properties within an existing street
Applications to name a property may contain up to three choices of name. When applications for naming and/or numbering of properties are received from developers or property owners, a check is carried out on the Land and Property Gazetteer 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 second or third choice is accepted for registration. In the event that all three of the proposed names are unsuitable, then the applicant is informed and invited to submit an alternative name.
A building can only have one name and one number. This is to avoid confusion and prevent the address becoming unwieldy.
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 on the 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.
3.6 Change of House Names or Flat Numbers
Applications for renaming or renumbering a property must be received in submitted by the owners of the property only and not tenants or prospective owners. 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 to ensure non-duplication of names and numbers. If there is a possibility of duplication then the owners are informed and invited to propose an alternative name or number.
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, indicating the UPRN and full postal address (and BS7666 address if different).
Where a building is demolished then the existing numbering sequence is retained and reused as far as possible in any new development.
3.8 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 Local Land and Property Gazetteer and archived records to ensure the correct information is given.
3.9 Procedure when Bath and North East Somerset Council is the applicant
When the Council is the owner or developer of the property, it shall apply for street names and building numbers in the same manner as any other applicant. In the interests of fairness and transparency, the same procedure will be used as any other applicant. The Council shall ensure that there is a clear separation of powers between its capacity as applicant and its capacity as Street Naming and Numbering Authority.
In the event that the Town or Parish Council, or Bath City Forum, disagrees with the name submitted by the Council as applicant and submits and alternative name, and the Street Naming & Numbering Officer agrees that the alternative is the most appropriate, then the applicant will be invited to accept the alternative name. In the event that the applicant part of the Council cannot accept the alternative name, then the matter must be referred to full Cabinet for a final decision.
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 Public Sector Mapping Agreement, 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 may pay online or by other methods, details of which may be found on the council’s website.
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.
6. Data Protection and Records Retention Policy
Personal data collected as part of the application process is kept for one year after the case is complete or one year after the submitted date of occupation whichever is the later. After this, the data will be deleted in compliance with GDPR.
Final letters or notices giving formal confirmation of address, site plans showing the numbering scheme for new developments and statutory notices of street names shall be kept permanently in electronic form.
Paper copies of statutory notices and order for street names and the associated plans shall be passed to Bath Records Office as a matter of public record. All paperwork containing personal details shall be destroyed.
APPENDIX 1: COMPARISON OF POSTAL
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 Always included
in rural areas
Locality/Village Included where Royal Mail Included where
have operational need such a name exists
Town Included where Royal Mail Always included
have operational need
Post town Always included Recorded separately
from actual Town
Postcode Always included Always included
where allocated where allocated
Note that where a village or locality is recorded, it may not always be the same in the two types of addresses.
APPENDIX 2: SUMMARY OF RIGHTS
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
Street Name Bath & North
Post Code Royal Mail
Your statutory rights if you disagree with a decision about your address:
The Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 provides no statutory rights of consultation, objection or appeal over property numbers.
Section 18(4) of Public Health Act 1925 provides that anyone who wishes to object to naming or 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,
Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog gives details of how to contact these bodies on their website.