New policies for house numbers and street names to make it easier for emergency services and deliveries

  Posted: 04.06.21 at 10:32 by Trevor Bevins - Local Democracy Reporter

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Street naming and house numbering is to be ‘harmonised’ across Dorset – with new guidelines replacing old policies from previous district and borough councils.

It should ensure that emergency services and deliveries are more efficient for new properties.

Dorchester councillor Les Fry, a former police officer, said that during his career trying to find a house in a village in the middle of the night, which only had a name, had been a re-occurring problem.

“Names are frustrating. How do you find Manor Farm or Holly Cottage when you are in a hurry? There should also be a number there.

“Postcodes take you to the area but you need a number after that,” he said.

Cabinet member Cllr Peter Wharf said the lack of logic to addresses was also a cause of ambulances arriving later than they should. He said it also caused occasional problems for gas, electricity and water services as well as delivery by courier companies.

He said the new policy would also guide developers in how they named new roads and streets – although in cases where there was a dispute, Dorset Council would make the final decision.

The Purbeck councillor said there would still be a place for local quirks – such as Tantinoby Lane in Wareham where, allegedly, the name is a shortened form of T’aint Nobody’s Lane because of a dispute in the 1800s over who owned it.

Cllr Wharf said that although street naming and numbering might seem trivial, it has caused a lot of debate and disagreement over the years especially with builders and town and parish councils being at odds over naming roads or streets, with developers often viewing the name as a marketing tool to sell their properties and parish and town councils wanting names to reflect the local area.

“It Is difficult to change names later – it’s very important to get it right first time. We can impose a name in cases of disagreement, but we generally don’t,” he said.

The new policy is expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting later this month.

The new policy suggests a list of suffixes for naming new developments – such as street, road, way, avenue, drive, grove, lane, gardens, place, square, hill, vale, rise, row, mews and terrace.

The council says it is likely to oppose, or is unlikely to approve, any pedestrian route not named: walk, alley, path or way.

The policy says that it will generally not approve any street name that:

Is the same or similar to one already in use in the same area but with a different suffix e.g. Birch Road and Birch Avenue;

Not support any numbering which could cause confusion e.g., 30 Two Foot Lane, which sounds like 32 Foot Lane;

Names which could cause offence or be considered discriminatory;

Names which could cause spelling or pronunciation problems;

Names which contains apostrophes or other punctuation;

Names which uses a name with Royal connotations without consent of the Lord Chamberlain’s office;

Names which advertise a product or business.

As a general rule living people will not have streets named after them to avoid causing offence either by inclusion or exclusion.

For numbering the council suggests following the convention which requires No1 to always be on the left-hand side of a road.

Through roads are numbered odds and evens in the direction they would be accessed from the principal road with odds on the left and evens on the right when entering from the principal road.

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