All councils in England will need to get agreement from two-thirds of people who live or run businesses on a street before changing its name.
Residents and business owners will have the final say over whether their street name can be changed, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced today (5 July 2022).
Under the plans, all councils in England will need to get agreement from two-thirds of people who live or run businesses on a street before changing its name, subject to parliamentary approval.
The government set out plans to give local people more powers over proposed name changes earlier this year. Today’s announcement follows a public consultation – with over 90% of those responding backing the plans.
The move will improve local democracy and make sure that names that are valued by the community and form a key part of an area’s identity are not erased without proper consideration.
Consent to change street names has been a legal requirement in the past, but currently many councils can change names without consulting residents. The government wants to make sure that the law is consistent across England.
Housing Minister Stuart Andrew said:
Street names are often central to an area’s identity and hold cherished memories for those that have lived in the community past and present.
It is right that we put the decision to change a street’s name in the hands of the people who would be most directly affected – and the feedback we’ve received through our consultation shows that people strongly agree with this.
The changes we are bringing forward will strengthen local democracy and make sure councils can’t push through changes that residents do not want.
These changes will also give residents the opportunity to oppose changes to street names, on the basis that they often cause additional costs and time for residents, who have to change their personal details with the bank and utility providers.
The changes will be introduced following the passage of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.