What is Street Naming and Numbering?

The primary purpose of Street Naming and Numbering is to create addresses, which are logical and consistent and to ensure that properties can be located quickly in all situations. The Local Land and Address Management team are responsible for the naming and numbering of new and existing streets and properties within the authority area.

Why is it important?

In today's smart phone location based society good addressing through Street Naming and Numbering (SNN) is more important than ever. Good Addressing enables:

  • emergency and care services to find a property quickly
  • mail and goods to be delivered efficiently
  • visitors to find where they want to go
  • reliable delivery of services and products
  • records of service providers to be kept in an efficient manner

It is therefore crucial that you are using the correct address. If you do not know if you aren't sure, please visit our Find my Official Address page.

Are there any policies and procedures?

Yes. Addresses are created in line with our current Street Naming and Numbering Policy (PDF 455kb) which is an implementation of Geoplace's 'Data Entry Conventions and Best Practice for Addresses' reference manual. Please ensure you read this before making an application.

Can I choose my address?

We always try to accommodate naming and numbering schemes suggested by applicants however we are bound by street naming and numbering standards, some of which have been agreed with Royal Mail and the emergency services, so it is not always possible.

We therefore ask that you not give any postal addresses, or postcodes, to potential occupiers (for example via solicitors or estate agents) before formal approval has been issued by the council.

Official addresses will be confirmed in writing, along with a plot to postal plan and schedule, once your application has been approved.

We can approve or reject property numbers and street names which are submitted by developers, or owners, under the powers of the following acts:

  • Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 (sections 64 and 65) (for numbering of properties and Street naming)
  • Public Health Act 1925 (sections 17 to 19) (for notification of Street Names and name plates


We will not be liable for any costs or damages to reverse addresses changes caused by failure to comply with our policy.

Things to consider when making an application:

House names instead of numbers - we will only issue house names in very exceptional circumstances, usually where a numbering scheme does not exist. Property numbers provide a unique way of locating a property without causing location ambiguity or misunderstanding by identifying which side of the street and how far along the street a property is located, which can be crucial in an emergency situation. Current address guidelines also state that all properties must be given only one identifier and where possible this must be a number on the street sequence.

For example if you knock down your house known as 16 Civic Road and build three new houses they will be 16, 16A and 16B. The same applies to flats, if you knock down 16 Civic Road and build four flats they will be called Flat 1-4, 16 Civic Road. Individual properties or blocks flats will not be issued with house names only unless there are no other numbering options.

Numbering schemes for flats - Flats are numbered clockwise, left to right, in all cases. This is at the request of Royal Mail and the Emergency Services who need to be able to locate properties quickly and efficiently.

Naming streets and properties with similar names - It is important to both the Royal Mail and the Emergency Services to avoid giving streets and houses similar names within the same locality.  The close juxtaposition of similar names such as Park Road and Park Avenue, or Park House, Park Road, in the same has proved to be a particular source of difficulty. A great variety of “999” are received each day and some callers can be vague in the details they give. Where names are duplicated it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint an exact location in order to enable an ambulance to attend in the time allowed.

Criteria for naming streets - Hertsmere has a significant historical background and therefore to ensure preservation of this heritage, preference will be given to naming schemes with an historical and local context. Our local historians have years of experience within their designated areas and are always consulted on applications for new streets. If no historical link can be established directly to the land under development then adjacent areas may be explored for ideas.

Do I have to display my house number?

Yes. It is a legal requirement for all properties to display their official house number in a clear prominent position which is clearly visible from the street. This is enforced by Hertsmere Borough Council under the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 (sections 64 and 65). Failure to comply may result in a fine. Even if your house has an alias name, you must still display your number.

Section 64 - Town Improvement Clauses Act 1847
Section 65 - Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847

There are important aspects to consider when it comes to displaying our numbers for people to see clearly, so If you are thinking of unofficially removing your house number and replacing it with a name, please read on.

Emergency Services

A great variety of “999” calls are received each day and where names and numbers aren't displayed it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint an exact location in order to enable an ambulance to attend promptly.

Paramedics have reported losing several minutes when responding to calls where property names and numbers have not been visible from the road. This could be crucial in a life and death situation.

Royal Mail

Being able to locate your property makes for a more efficient mail delivery service. This is the difference between your mail being delivered right to your door or being taken back to the delivery office as 'address not found' and returned to sender.

Courier and delivery companies

Just as above with the Royal mail service, it gives your delivery drivers a bit of help finding you whether it’s a parcel, food shop or take out. There is nothing more frustrating then ordering take away and the delivery driver looking for your address for an hour so you end up with cold food.

Utilities and other services

Utilities and media companies such as Sky and Virgin will not be able to connect services without your official address. Likewise with other services which may come to your home -   beauty/hair treatments, house cleaners. Some companies will charge if they fail to locate your home.

Friends and Family

Whether you have just moved or have invited guests over for an occasion such as Christmas, it is just as important for them to find your house easy too,  especially if they arrive at night.

Best ways to display a house number

  • Your house number should be displayed on the house, on the mailbox (if you have one) and around two feet from the driveway to be seen on the street.
  • The colour of the number is important, you will need it to be visible. Placing a lightly coloured number on a dark coloured background. You will need to check if the sunlight does not make the number fade out of sight.
  • Small LED lights will help brighten up the number in the evenings, making it visible for people to see.
  • Instead of using stickers, try to use numbers made of brass, acrylic, metal, glass and other materials that will give it a more visible but elegant look.
  • Remember to think about size too, bigger is always better. You could display a large sized number on the outside of your house but a small and unique number onto the house itself.


Make a street naming and numbering application or contact the Local Land and Address Management team for more information.

For more information on addressing in general, please visit Geoplace's All About Addressing page for links to brochures and fact sheets which help to explain about lots of different aspects of addressing.