Residents to be given power to stop 'woke' councils changing historic street names

5 July 2022, 07:07

New laws will give residents the right to vote on street name changes proposed by local councils
New laws will give residents the right to vote on street name changes proposed by local councils. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Government is set to unveil new laws today, that will stop councils changing historical street names if local residents object.

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Currently, many councils can change the name of a given street without consulting residents.

But new laws will give residents the right to vote on street name changes proposed by local councils, if one-third of residents object, the name will remain.

The plans are outlines in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and may cause issues with the Mayor of London's £1million new street name scheme.

Sadiq Khan offered local authorities the money to help to "decolonise" their street names with Black Boy Lane in Haringey already undergoing a name change to La Rose Lane - after poet John La Rose.

Read more: Entire London suburb could be ‘cancelled’ amid row over slavery links

Documents produced for Haringey Council in 2021 revealed that the price of renaming just Black Boy Lane, was estimated to be £186,000.

The cost estimate was largely due to disruption to residents who would have to change their addresses on everything from bank statements to driving licenses.

Under the Mayor's plans a whole area of London could be renamed due to its namesake's historic links to slavery.

Tulse Hill was named after 17th century merchant Sir Henry Tulse, who served as Lord Mayor of London in 1684 and whose family’s wealth was largely drawn from the slave trade.

A Whitehall source told The Telegraph: "Street names are often a proud part of a community’s identity and hold cherished memories for those that have lived there past and present.

"As we level up across the country, we want communities to take back control, so we are putting the power over street name changes into the hands of local people who would be most directly affected.

"Our new laws will stop woke councils pushing through street names changes that communities don’t want."

Read more: Referendum on extensions: Neighbours to get a vote on plans for your house

Sadiq Khan also told LBC he “supports the initiative” to rename Kensington Palace Gardens Zelenskyy Avenue in honour of the Ukrainian president.

Calls have been growing for the road in London on which the Russian embassy in located to be renamed Zelenskyy Avenue in solidarity with Ukraine.

Kensington Palace Gardens, one of the most expensive streets in the capital, is also home to Chelsea owner and close Vladimir Putin ally Roman Abramovich.

Housing Minister, Stuart Andrew previously said: "Up and down the country, street names often form a key part of an area’s history, cherished by the local community for the memories they hold and the places they represent.

"These proposals will strengthen local democracy by ensuring that councils in England get agreement from local residents in advance of any street name changes."