House numbers law ‘scandalous’ - Councillor

A Limavady councillor says it is “absolutely scandalous” that householders in rural areas display their house numbers, writes Sheena Jackson.

Ulster Unionist Edwin Stevenson made the remarks during discussion about the matter at Tuesday’s Council meeting after Director of Environmental Services, Noel Crawford said the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development had written to council to highlight the “problem being faced by the emergency services relating to domestic properties in rural areas not displaying their allocated house number.”

In his monthly report, Mr. Crawford said: “Under Article 11 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1995 Councils issue postal numbers for houses and buildings in their area and other than in exceptional circumstances it is a requirement for householders to prominently display their property number so that it can be easily read.

“Presently Council issues letters confirming postal numbers and in an effort to highlight the above requirement these letters will now indicate that there is a legal obligation for all occupiers to display their house number.”

However, Colr. Stevenson said it was “absurd as far as I can see” and said if that was all the Agriculture Minister could do “she should resign”. SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle thougt otherwise and said it was important for emergency services to be able to see house numbers clearly. He said when he worked as an engineer he used to have difficulty finding houses, and said you also have to you take into account the amount of time wasted looking for numbers. “So, I think, in rural areas house numbers should be displayed so there is no confusion on which house is which”.

TUV Colr. Boyd Douglas said because of the security issues in “this country” some people didn’t want to have their home identified with a number. Plus, he said there is “sat nav for that”.

“I’d be opposed to this on the grounds of safety for individuals,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Brenda Chivers said when out canvassing last year everyone had likely encountered problems finding houses. She said for emergency services, it could be a case of “life and death”.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” she added.

Mr. Crawford reminded members it wasn’t a proposal, that it was the law and Council was being asked to adhere to it.