Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Property Naming and Numbering

Registering/Changing Name of Property

If you are wishing to rename your property or give a new build its first name we will request that you fill in a Property Naming form and return it to the Development Management office. This can be found in the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

In Town

Individual properties in the town are generally built on infill land, large gardens, or on the site of previously demolished properties. These will be numbered within the existing sequence if possible and letter suffixes (e.g. 16A) will be used if necessary. Where building takes place on the site of a demolished property, the new building may inherit the existing number. You may then add a house name to your postal address, but it cannot replace the street number, which must always be used and displayed. This is enforceable under section 97 of The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. If your house is within a new development it should have been numbered during the Street Naming and Numbering process that we undertake with the relevant developer, community council and Royal Mail.

In the Countryside

In the countryside, naming, rather than numbering of properties is the general practice.

What is the process?

Once a completed Property Naming form is received, we will:-

  • Check the name against our database, to make sure no one else has registered a property with that name in the area.
  • Register your new name/name change with Royal Mail.
  • Confirm in writing the acceptance of the name.
  • Enter the new name on the Council’s Corporate Address Gazetteer. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to notify all appropriate companies and persons of any address change/registration.

Any name chosen should not be similar to any other in the immediate locality; checks shall be carried out and advice will be given on this. If a property name has not been registered, it may not show up in these checks, and, if another owner registers the same name, the latter address would take precedence as it was the first to be officially registered.

How long does it take?

The process can be anything between 1-4 weeks. We therefore recommend that you register your property a few weeks in advance of first occupation.

Royal Mail will add your new/amended address details onto its database. You should, however, be aware that it may take other companies (such as insurance, media and IT companies) some time to update their own address databases to correspond with Royal Mail’s.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail is responsible for issuing new postcodes. However they will not issue a postcode for a new street or property until requested to do so by the Council.

You can check to see if your property is registered with Royal Mail or search for postcodes on the Royal Mail website available from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Enquiries about postcodes, full addresses or any complaints regarding delivery of mail can be dealt with direct at:

Royal Mail Customer Services, Freepost, RM1 1AA.

Phone: 08457740740.

Naming and Numbering of New Developments

Applicants/agents or developers should write to/email Development Management as soon as they are able notifying them that they wish to start the road naming process for their new development. They should include a plan detailing the road(s) that require names and any name suggestions they may have, giving reasons for these suggestion(s).

If the development includes any new roads, a report will have to be presented to the Council’s Development and Infrastructure committee. This process can take several months and it is therefore advisable to contact Development Management at the earliest possible stage of the development.

It should be noted that, to avoid confusion, a development name should be approved by the Council before developers assign an unofficial marketing name to the development. Problems can arise if purchasers have bought properties which have been marketed under an unofficial name and legal documentation is drafted on this basis only to find that the officially approved name turns out to be different.

Road Name Plates

Development Management is not responsible for erection or replacing street name plates. If you have any concerns about these you should contact the Council’s Roads Services.

Related Sites

Related Downloads