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Keeping names local in Cambridge

Exemplar Award Winner- Street Naming and Numbering Award Winner: Cambridge City Council

Three new large housing developments are being built as part of Cambridge Southern Fringe development. In total, the development includes around 3,700 new homes. This case study explores how Cambridge City Council has worked extensively with local residents and the local history group to develop appropriate street names which mean something to the local community.

The naming process

The Street Naming and Numbering (SNN) officer was very keen to involve residents in the naming process of the sites. Engagement with residents and local Councillors commenced two years prior to the start of the developments.

The Ward Councillors representing the area were also keen to include the general public in suggesting new names and this was extended to both resident groups and the local history group. With part of one of the development sites within the area of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Haslingfield Parish Council was also approached to submit suggestions for new street names. This part of the process was helped by both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire already having in place a joint working policy with regards to street naming and numbering for cross boundary development sites.

In addition, the Major Growth planning team and Community Development team at the city council ran a series of local community forums. The SNN officer attended some of these to display the SNN plans and also to promote further the addressing of the new developments.

Research into suitable names and their historical significance was largely carried out by the History Group and Residents’ Association who, together, put around 100 names forward for consideration. This level of involvement was warmly welcomed by local residents.

An important part of the process was that, as soon as a list of suggestions had been received, consultation with both the Royal Mail and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service could begin. This meant that, as soon as the development started, a number of approved names were readily available for immediate use.

The names

Based on the extensive research and engagement with residents and resident groups, the names all link to the history of the sites before they became housing sites.

Trumpington Meadows is the former home of the renowned Plant Breeding Institute. As a result, One Tree Road, Spring Drive and Forty Acre Road have all been used as street names. Consort (a wheat variety) Avenue, Banner (a winter bean variety) Road and Proctor (a spring barley variety) Drive have also been used, along with several other names, all of which have a local significance. At the nearby Glebe Farm development, eight new street names have been used and they all relate in some way to the farm that was previously there. Examples of the names used are Tebbit (Street), who farmed the site in the 1930s, Martin (Road), the name of the last tenant farmer, and Harness (Close) which was the name of the Clydesdale horse that worked on the farm many years ago.

Again, at Clay Farm some significant local names have been used. Part of the site was previously used as a Royal Showground (Royal Way), whilst other names used are Austin Drive, named after a renowned local pathologist who lived nearby, and Cornwell Road, after a local farming family. Some relevant local bird names have also been included in the development, such as Kingfisher Gardens, Skylark Road, Partridge Close and Lapwing Avenue.

Authority view

The opportunity to involve the local community in the street naming process was really important to our authority. This approach demonstrated to developers from the outset our intention to use ‘local’ names which help to provide a long lasting identity. The new developments are seen as an extension to an existing parish, rather than the creation of an entirely new community, thereby supporting the integration of new residents.

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