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On the naming and numbering of streets...

June 23, 2011 8:45 AM

Wiltshire Council's 'cabinet' set out the council's policy on street names and house numbering at its meeting on June 22nd 2010. This is one of the areas which used to be in the jurisdiction of the local district councils before their abolition.

When new estates are built the final decision on street names is taken by the council, though developers and the town or parish council may make suggestions.

Did you know that:

  • If your house has a number, you're not allowed to drop the number and give it a name without permission from the council, which would not normally be given. This is often done particularly in villages where names are seen as posher than numbers. Under Section 65 of the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 house numbers must be displayed. A name can be displayed as well as, but not instead of, the number. So before you rip out your number think again - the peelers may come calling. If, of course, they can find you.
  • The modern trend of omitting the number 13 is not the fault of stupid property developers who think their superstitious clients wouldn't buy a house with an unlucky number - it's a stipulation of Royal Mail, no less.
  • Where houses do have names in un-numbered roads those names must be officially allocated and registered with the emergency services. Anyone wishing to change the name of such a property must apply to the council.

The original version of the policy also said:

  • "The use of a name which relates to people living or dead will not be accepted."

However this was challenged at the cabinet meeting by both Cllr Jeff Osborn, who sought a change to the policy to allow the naming of streets after individuals to recognise those who had served their communities well, in line with the policy previously operated by West Wiltshire District Council, and by Jane Scott, who considered that the policy was overly bureaucratic and should be simplified.

Despite some resistance from the responsible cabinet member Cllr Noeken, who pointed out that the policy was based on legal requirements and Government guidance, the requirement has now been dropped from the policy.

If you want to build a new estate or change the name of your property you can get the forms from www.wiltshire.gov.uk/streetnaming