Council to charge for street and property naming

The 70 new homes planned at the Selkirks Heather Mill are just a fraction of those which will be hit by the charges.
The 70 new homes planned at the Selkirks Heather Mill are just a fraction of those which will be hit by the charges.

Homeowners and developers wishing to register street and property names will be faced with a fee for doing so as of next month.

It comes after Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee unanimously backed proposals to put in place charges for naming streets and properties on Tuesday.

A report to the council said the move would help to cover the around £22,000 per year which the council spends in administrating such requests.

Members agreed to charge £150 to name a street and £75 to name, number or rename individual properties.

This brings the council in line with 12 other Scottish local authorities which already charge between £100 and £1,200 for providing the service.

Council leader Shona Haslam said the charges were “long overdue” and while Kelso councillor Tom Weatherston agreed, he asked for assurances that larger developments be considered for phased payments where required.

Last month the council backed a five-year plan expected to lead to almost 1,200 new affordable homes across the region before 2022.

Over the past four years the council has dealt with an average of 20 street-naming processes per year and looking forward planning applications are already 12% up on the same period of last year.

“This increase will, over time, manifest in more property registrations and consequently more work for democratic services,” the report states.

However, Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers warned: “From the public’s point of view, they might look at these charges and think ‘they have got me over a barrel here and they are taking my money because I have no option’.

“I think it would be sensible to have a breakdown of the costs involved available so we can justify to the public where these charges have come from.

“We have to be transparent with this.”

Currently the council’s democratic services carry out, at no cost to applicants, the works associated with naming a street or home. This includes instigating the consultation process with councillors, community councils, and relevant service areas before contacting Royal Mail and issuing a postcode, which is then passed on to the applicant, emergency services, NHS and utility providers.

The council will look into providing a breakdown of costs on its website and the charging policy will be in place from December.