Street naming and numbering

Guide to Naming Streets

The Council is responsible for naming streets in the borough, under the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939-Part II.

When a street name is required, we will need a list of at least 3 choices, with a local historical connection and why each name has been proposed.

Street Names

The definition of a 'street' includes any highway, public bridge, road, lane, footway, cycle path, square, court, alley or passage whether a thoroughfare or not, maintained by the council or not.

Suggestions for street names are usually submitted by the developer, preferably with an historical connection. 

The council has a list of pre-approved names that can be used if no names are proposed.

When a new housing development is built, all new street names must be authorised by us and they must be consistent with the following protocols:

  • the name(s) should, when possible, have a proven historical connection to the land intended for development.
  • the name(s) should not conflict or duplicate any name(s) already in use within the borough or neighbouring boroughs. We advise that you check the name(s) by contacting us.
  • if the development contains a new network of streets a theme may be chosen, taking care not to repeat a theme already being used locally.
  • if no suitable historical name can be found for the land then a historical name related to an adjacent area may be suitable.
  • you must obtain the consent of the Lord Chamberlain's office if you use a name with any reference to the Royal family (or the use of the word 'Royal' is suggested).  
  • Street names should not be difficult to pronounce or awkward to spell. In general, words of more than three syllables should be avoided as should multiple words.
  • No street name should start with the word ‘The’ or “A” as it can cause confusion during emergencies.
  • The naming of streets after living persons should be avoided, but if you do propose to name after a person, they must have been deceased for at least fifty years. 

For guidance purposes, new street names should end with one of the following suffixes:

  • 'Avenue' may be used for residential roads
  • ‘Boulevard’ may be used for major road
  • 'Circus' may be used for a large roundabout
  • 'Close' To be used for a cul-de-sac only
  • 'Crescent' may be used for a crescent shaped road
  • 'Drive' may be used for residential roads
  • 'Gardens' may be used for residential roads (subject to there being no confusion with any local open space)
  • 'Grove' may be used for residential roads
  • 'Hill' may be used for a hillside road only
  • 'Lane' may be used for residential roads
  • 'Mews' is considered acceptable in appropriate circumstances (for terraced houses)
  • 'Place' may be used for residential roads or cul-de-sacs
  • 'Rise' may be used for residential roads (for streets on an incline or slope)
  • 'Road' may be used for any road
  • 'Square' may be used for a square only
  • 'Street' may be used for any road
  • 'Vale' may be used for residential roads (for a hillside road only)
  • 'Way' may be used for residential roads
  • 'Yard' may be used for residential roads (for cul-de-sac streets with possibly historic commercial use)

'Cross', 'End', 'Meadow', 'Park', 'Side', 'View', 'Walk', 'Wharf' are not considered to be suitable. However any of these words can be incorporated in a street name provided that it terminates with an appropriate suffix, for example, Fen End Road.

Single or dual names without suffixes can be used in appropriate places, for example 'Broadway' - for a major road where such a description would be appropriate.

The use of 'North', 'East', 'South' or 'West' (as in 'Alfred Road North' and 'Alfred Road South') for new streets is only acceptable where the road would be continuous, if not for a junction with a main road, when traffic from the new road has to give way to cross.

The use of phonetically similar names within the borough and neighbouring boroughs such as 'Churchill Road' and 'Birch Hill Road' should be avoided.

Pedestrian Walkways

Pedestrian walkways should end with the suffix:

  • Path
  • Walk
  • Way

Unacceptable Street Suffixes

These suffixes refer to features and would not typically be allowed, as they could be misinterpreted, to be in close proximity to these features.  For example calling a street Green Park when it is not next to a park.

  • Alley
  • Common
  • Court
  • Cross
  • Cut
  • End
  • Gate
  • Meadow
  • Park
  • Path (only used for pedestrian walkways)
  • Side
  • Walk (only used for pedestrian walkways)

Changing a street name

The council has powers under the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939-Part II, to rename any street, but we normally only consider a request to rename a street name when it has been causing problems for residents, emergency services, Royal Mail or other delivery companies.

In the event of a third party submitting a request to change a street name, we would seek approval from 80% of freeholders impacted.

In all cases we would hold a 30 day consultation with the people affected and the emergency services.  However, all associated costs with deeds and land registry changes are to be met by the customer.