Crackdown on rude street names

Some of Northumberland’s quirkiest place names could be heading up a dead end thanks to a new set of “baffling” and ”humourless” rules.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 5:39 pm
A street-names shake-up is being carried out by the county council.

Locations such as Titlington, Shitlington and Cockplay have amused visitors to the county for years – and still manage to raise a wry smile from families who have lived there for decades.

And while they are expected to grace the map for many years to come, a new set of rules drawn up by Northumberland County Council (NCC) is likely to limit the addition of new entries to lists of Britain’s rudest place names.

“The council [wants] to make sure that any new street names and numbers are acceptable and allocated logically to ensure, amongst other things, the effective delivery of mail and the location of addresses by the emergency services,” said a spokesman for the local authority.

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“Northumberland is a county full of character and history and the last thing we wish to do is to strip away its uniqueness.

“The proposals would ensure that new street names do not cause offence and prevent any confusion for the emergency services and Royal Mail.”

The proposals have been included as part of an updated “policy for street naming and numbering” put forward by NCC.

The document includes a promise to “promote street names that reflect local, geographical or historic significance”.

Other rules put forward state that street names should not cause offence, as well as requiring decision-makers be aware of the potential for “re-interpretation by graffiti or the shortening/abbreviation of the name”.

It also suggests a person should be dead for at least 20 years before a road is named after them, something which several councils fell foul of following the death of Jimmy Savile.

The idea of scrapping apostrophes in street names has invoked the ire of the Campaign for Plain English, which called the policy “baffling, patronising and pedantic stuff”.

A spokesman for the group said: “The idea that names pre-empt potential comedy readjustments seems fairly absurd, as does the apparent need to avoid phonetic similarity – these strike us as the kind of measures someone very prickly and humourless might come up with.”