When a building project creates a new thoroughfare or building, the developer has to apply to us to give a name to the street, and a name or number to the building. The council has issued policy and guidelines so that proposals are sensible. For new streets we ask for a name that has some clear historical or local link to the area, that is easily spelt and pronounced, has a relevant suffix (eg road, avenue, etc.) and does not duplicate a name already in use in Westminster or our neighbouring boroughs.
A building's number should be in sequence of the street in which the main entrance is situated, and if it is to be named, should not duplicate one already in use in the area. We receive many proposals to name buildings differently from the guidelines. In most cases it is to create a marketing advantage for the newly constructed building. By giving a prestigious name to the building, it is thought that the resale value will be greater, as indeed it may be. In the same way, buildings that front two or more streets are often proposed with a number in the street perceived to be the most prestigious.
Our principal concern is that the emergency services can find a property easily. This is why we insist that buildings are named and numbered conventionally, and marked clearly without ambiguity. The location of the principal entrance is important, as it is this which determines into which street the property is numbered. In some cases a building may have two or more numbers in different streets if there are multiple entrances for separate uses.
It is quite common for a building's name and number is omitted after alterations have taken place (a particular problem with new shopfronts), so it's worth reminding designers that their drawings should show these clearly marked on the building. The method of displaying names and numbers is given in regulations made by the council.
The use of the Royal Mail database by providers of services or goods, to complete their customers' addresses, throws up a number of problems. Quite often the address being used by the customer is not exactly as shown on the database, and the transaction cannot be completed. The Royal Mail will not alter the details on the database unless it receives clarification from the local authority that the address has been incorrectly assigned.
Although we are not responsible for issuing the postcode (this is the responsibility of Royal Mail), on request we will check our details of a property and advise Royal Mail what their database should show.