How Are New Roads Named?
All new street names now have to be decided by the local council. In the case of Meldreth this is South Cambridgeshire District Council where the Address Management Team carries out statutory street naming and numbering functions in accordance with legislation (Section 64: Town Improvement Clauses Act 1847, Section 17: Public Health Act 1925 Notice to Urban Local Authority). This also applies to any proposed changes. A fee is charged.
A developer must apply to this Team. However, any person or body has the right to submit a naming suggestion for a new street, or for a change, to the Council. Applicants are advised to consult with and seek the agreement of the local Parish Council, as the team will consult with them before approving a name. The consultation period lasts for 14 days. If a name is not proposed the District Council team will allocate one.
Guidance for New Road Names
- Preference is given to names which refer to local historical heritage, natural or landscape features of the local area.
- New streets must not duplicate any similar name already in use in the local area, such that it might cause confusion to the emergency services and/or service delivery agents.
- Streets may occasionally be named after people. It would be preferable not to do so unless the person whose name has been suggested is in some way related to the particular area or village where the development is taking place. A street should never be named using a person’s full name (this may cause confusion to an emergency operator between an individual’s name and an address). With the exception of saints or members of the royal family, the surname alone is to be used. In Meldreth, Howard Road and Marvell Green are examples.
- A variation in the street name suffix will not be accepted if the main part of the street name is duplicated. For example a request for “Church Lane” off an existing “Church Road” will not normally be allowed as this can cause confusion, particularly with emergency services.
- The following suffixes are no longer allowed: End, Court, Cross, Side, View, Walk, Park and Meadow. Some Councils supply lists of suffixes which are allowed for new roads.
- Where a new road is an extension of an existing road, it will not be allocated a new street name and the properties will be numbered into the existing road.
- No building or street name can now start with “The”.
- Street names should not include numeric characters.
- Street names should not be difficult to pronounce or spell.
- Any proposed name that the Address Management Team deems to be offensive, inappropriate and/or misleading will not be approved.
- The use of ambiguous or indistinctive names is discouraged.
- Names which may encourage the defacing or theft of nameplates are to be avoided.
Some Council’s have ruled against the use of apostrophes in street names. In Meldreth, the relatively new Marys Way is an example of this.
Some Councils do not allow the use of living person names and have special rules for using the name of a deceased person, which may involve discussions with those administering the person’s estate.
The full Address Management Policy for South Cambridgeshire can be found at: https://www.scambs.gov.uk/media/6669/address-management-policy-v7.pdf.
Sometimes different options are put forward by individuals or groups and the Parish Council have to make a recommendation to the District Council. In Meldreth, the Parish Council often ask the History Group for suggestions when a new road has to be named. Individuals and groups can also object to suggestions. For instance there was some discussion about the naming of the development near Meldreth Railway Station.
The Design of Modern Street Name Signs
The format of the street signs we see on every corner is not defined in legislation (as traffic signs are). They therefore vary both in design and placement. Various typefaces are used, the majority being the standard road sign format designed in the 1950s. However, particularly in Cambridge, the serif design by David Kindersley is used (http://www.kindersleyworkshop.co.uk.
The South Cambridgeshire District Council guidance (in chapter 12 of https://www.scambs.gov.uk/media/7582/cambridgeshire-design-guide-for-streets-and-the-public-realm-2007.pdf ) states: Street nameplates should be of a design appropriate to the area and fixed to buildings or boundary walls wherever possible.
An example of a Meldreth street sign is shown at the top of this page.