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Changes to street names will need to be approved by two-thirds of residents under new law to give communities control



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Residents and business owners will be given the final say as to whether the name of their street should be changed under new plans unveiled this week.

Councils in England looking to re-name a road will have to get the agreement of two thirds of the people who either live or run a company there before being able to bring in any alteration.

The ruling, which now awaits parliamentary approval, follows a consultation in which 90% of those asked supported the idea that communities should get to make the ultimate decision.

Councils in England would need to get two-thirds of people to agree before a name could be changed under the new plans
Councils in England would need to get two-thirds of people to agree before a name could be changed under the new plans

The issue of re-naming streets has hit the headlines in recent months as questions are asked about the future of names of roads which may be associated with controversial historical figures or which are deemed offensive.

While there are also often calls to alter road names in recognition of a particular person or dignitary - for example The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has faced calls to re-name the London street where the Russian Embassy is based 'Zelensky Avenue' as a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine following President Putin's invasion.

Ministers want to give control to communities when it comes to the names of the roads they live in
Ministers want to give control to communities when it comes to the names of the roads they live in

Consent to change street names has always been a legal requirement but many councils, says the government, can still alter names without much consultation with those living or working there.

This change, it says, will make sure the law is consistent across the whole of England with the new rule to apply to every local council.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says it will enable local people to take control, empower residents, boost local democracy while ensuring that names valued by communities and which form a key part of an area's identity are not 'erased without proper consideration'.

Residents could also oppose a name change because of the time and effort required to change their personal details held on record. Picture; iStock.
Residents could also oppose a name change because of the time and effort required to change their personal details held on record. Picture; iStock.

In a statement it said: "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 part of our mission to level up across the country, we want communities to take back control so we are putting the power over street names changes into the hands of local people who would be most directly affected."

The law change would also give residents the opportunity to oppose changes to street names on the basis that it can lead to additional cost and time for those living and working there as they have to alter their personal details and address records with a vast array of organisations including banks and utility companies.



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