Council wins A1 name fight

9th August 2011'Story: Coun Laurie Harrison felt vindicated over road naming battle - objections were made to court after he suggested Sprockhoevel Way and Avenue Lodeve for the roads. Court ruled the road names remain to be called the European names.' 'LOCATION: - Hemsworth A1 Link Road''PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

9th August 2011'Story: Coun Laurie Harrison felt vindicated over road naming battle - objections were made to court after he suggested Sprockhoevel Way and Avenue Lodeve for the roads. Court ruled the road names remain to be called the European names.' 'LOCATION: - Hemsworth A1 Link Road''PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

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SPROCKHOEVEL Way and Avenue Lodeve have been set in stone as the names of the Hemsworth A1-link road and access route despite an eight-month campaign by local residents.

More than 80 people objected to Pontefract Magistrates’ Court about the names, stating they did not reflect the town’s local mining history.

People are felt they were not consulted prior to the decision being made by Wakefield Council.

But it was decided on Monday by District Judge Marie Mallon to keep the European names as the council’s planning and highways committee – the group that made the decision to name the roads – had followed all the correct procedures in consulting the public.

South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town councillor Laurie Harrison originally suggested the names due to the 30-year history of the town council’s twinning with towns in Germany and France.

He said: “I feel South Kirkby’s reputation for being hospitable has been retained due to the court’s decision. I think it’s wonderful.

“We are not a xenophobic community which I feel has been portrayed by the objections.

“It was ridiculous and an unnecessary expense of rate payers money.

“Common sense has prevailed but it wasn’t about the road name, I believe it was political and a personal attack against me. But I feel indifferent to it.

“Just measure me on my effectiveness for South Kirkby.”

Councillor for South Kirkby and South Elmsall, Wilf Benson lodged his concern to the council over the names in December 2010.

He and other residents had to pay £200 in court costs to formally object to the names and have the case heard by the court.

They wanted people to be given an opportunity to choose alternative road names.

Coun Benson said: “It has been a long battle and I am very disappointed to say the least about the outcome.

“I feel as though public opinion has been ignored.

“We have been told the French and Germans have got preference over our own heritage.”

Coun Benson believes this is the first time an objection has been made regarding a road name, and said the campaigners have “made history” if nothing else.

Resident Margaret Cawthorne, of Minsthorpe Vale, South Elmsall, said: “I feel gutted, utterly gobsmacked. I still think the people of South Kirkby and surrounding areas should have got their say. But they haven’t.

“I just feel like we haven’t been listened to.

“People will have to vote with their feet at the next election.”

The campaigners do not plan to appeal the court’s decision.

l What do you think of the decision? Write to us at Express Letters, 23 Barnsley Road, South Elmsall, WF9 2RN or e-mail lindsay.pantry@ywng.co.uk