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Good practice and guidance

Devised jointly with representatives from local authorities, GeoPlace provides technical guidance to councils on the collection of street and address information within a reference manual ‘GeoPlace Data Entry Conventions and Best Practice for Addresses DEC-Addresses Version 3.4 September 2016.

The reference manual provides SNN officers with:

  • a comprehensive consistent maintenance and update resource

  • definitions, conventions and guidance for those wishing to improve how they maintain address data more efficiently and in a consistent manner across government

  • consistent definitions and conventions for those who use address data and those who, equally importantly, wish to understand why they should use good quality address data.


Council officers have been using versions of this guidance for over ten years and review it regularly to ensure that it remains fit for purpose. The guidance helps councils avoid the significant cost and practical difficulties associated with changing street names, should that be necessary in future years.

The guidance states that councils should establish their own street naming and numbering policy for their authority area taking into particular consideration the following aspects:

  • The exclusion or inclusion of certain numbers for cultural or religious reasons

  • The use of building names without numbers

  • New building or street names should not begin with "The"

  • The use of street names which include numbers which can cause confusion, for example "20 Seven Foot Lane" sounds the same as "27 Foot Lane"

  • The use of the names of deceased people in the adoption of any street names. The reason for choosing a person's name should be established in the council's policy

  • The use of the name of a living person. (This is not recommended)

  • The adoption of historic connotations by developers – guidance on this should be provided by the council to all developers through close liaison with local historic societies. This information should be provided electronically via the council's website

  • The use of national or local historic figures or events

  • The use of a name with Royal connotations. The consent of the Lord Chamberlain's office must be obtained if a name with any reference to the Royal family or the use of the word ‘Royal' is suggested. For further information, see - heRoyalArms.aspx (accessed January 2016) Email - [email protected] (accessed January 2016)

  • The use of names and their combination with numbers that could be considered rude, obscene, and racist or which would contravene any aspect of the council's equal opportunities policies

  • The use of names and their combination with numbers that could be easily vandalised or changed into any of the above, for example, "Canal Turn"

  • The use of names that can cause spelling or pronunciation problems

  • The use of names that can be construed to be used for advertising or commercial gain

  • The use of names which would lead to variations in the use of punctuation as these can cause confusion or result in early demands for a change of address from occupiers, see DEC-Addresses - 2.5 Alphabet rules.


Please note that the 'Data Entry Conventions and Best Practice for Addresses' guidance on street naming and numbering are recommendations and naming streets is a matter for individual councils.

Section 4.2 within the manual outlines guidance to councils on SNN practice and policy, including;

  • Initiating new addresses

  • Good practice on information to be displayed on a council website

  • Dealing with SNN requests

  • Numbering of properties to assist with the identification of properties

  • Avoiding naming conflict with nearby authorities

  • Ensuring new records adhere to BS7666; Spatial datasets for geographical referencing. General model for gazetteers and spatial referencing

  • Notifications to third parties

  • Developing an SNN policy for the authority to assist on how streets should be named

  • Changes to an existing address


GeoPlace statement on use of apostrophes in street naming and numbering.

Processes involved in the creation of street name and property number information in five case study councils in England and Wales