Adopted roads, Section 38 and 278

Not all roads in MK are Council-owned. Private and unadopted roads are not maintained by MK Council.

Adopted and Unadopted Roads

We are responsible for maintaining nearly 8,000 miles of roads, footways and redways across MK however some are still privately owned which are 'unadopted'.

If we agree to take ownership of a 'private street' is becomes 'adopted' and is maintained by our budget. Anything else is maintained at private expense. MK has several development areas where the roads are still under the control of the developer. These are unadopted and are not maintained by the council so they will not be gritted, repaired or cleaned.

Before we adopt a road, we would look at whether it is suitable to become part of our network. This means it must have suitable drainage and are lit to our safety standard by street lights. A developer does not have to offer up a road for adoption and we have no authority to make them do so.

You can find out if a road is adopted public highways using the My MK Mapping tool on the homepage - anything adopted by us will be shown in blue.


Section 38 Agreements

A Section 38 Agreement (Highways Act 1980) requires a developer to enter into an agreement with us as the Highway Authority for the construction of new roads and footways to be offered for adoption. This is the legal process we follow to adopt newly constructed roads and streets and it ensures that any construction is technically approved by our highways engineers beforehand. A bond (fund) must be provided too so that if the developer cannot complete the works then the Council's Highways team will pick this up.

If improvements to the existing highway network are required for a new development, then a legal agreement using Section 278 of the Highways Act will also be required.

Section 38 Information sheet (including charges) (PDF, 191KB)


Section 278

This requires a developer to enter into an agreement with MK Council as the Highway Authority to make alterations to the public highway for a new development. We will only allow construction once we are satisfied with the plans, fees are paid, road safety audits are completed and all technical details have been approved by us.

You can find out more about this in the Highways Act (1980) at

Section 278 Information Sheet (including charges) (PDF, 201KB)


Naming new roads

We are responsible for street naming and numbering, providing addresses to developers and individuals for new properties and for renumbering streets if needed. Most areas in Milton Keynes are named based on a collective theme for example, streets in Oldbrook have English Cricket themed names and Oxley Park are Hollywood Legends.

If a property is not 'registered' through the street naming and numbering process the address will not appear on the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) or the Royal Mail Postal Address File (PAF) and the owner/occupier may have difficulties registering for utilities and services, getting deliveries or being located by emergency services.

MK Council has a statutory power to name and number streets as well as to approve and officially register property addresses within the MK Borough. Royal Mail will not allocate a postcode until they receive official notification of new or amended addresses from us.

  • Individuals or developers building new houses, flats, commercial or industrial premises
  • Individuals or developers undertaking conversions of residential, commercial or industrial premises which will result in the creation of new properties or premises
  • Any person who wishes to change their existing address 

How to apply

For any new build or conversion of a property you should apply to us for address allocation once you have received planning and building regulation approvals. We will then produce a street naming and numbering scheme for your development and contact Royal Mail who will allocate the postcode to the approved address. Utility companies do not usually install services without an official address and postcode. If your request involves the naming of new streets please allow sufficient time due to the consultation process with local ward councillors and parish councils. We would not normally officially register an address until the building site work commences.

Applications will not be processed until the full fee has been paid by the applicant.  When applying online payment may be made by debit or credit card or by bank transfer. 

What you need to include in your application

  • If you are not the owner of the property you need a letter proving that you are acting on the owners behalf
  • A clear map showing the site boundary, with a north arrow, showing access roads and the position of door access to the street
  • In larger development schemes it is important to show the type of property to be addresses particularly if any flats or commercial buildings are included. In flatted developments please provide detailed floor plans together with all access points
  • If the development includes blocks of flats or large commercial buildings the developer may wish to suggest building names 


Charges for Street Naming and Numbering Services are applicable for most services other than changing or adding a house name. If at the end of the process you have been over charged or additional services need to be paid for, you will be contacted by our administration team who can take payment or issue a refund over the telephone to your debit or credit card.

Apply Online for Street Naming & Numbering

Last Updated: 13 May 2021