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By popular demand

Exemplar Award Winner- Runner-up National Gazetteers Naming Award 2011: Chorley Borough Council

In 2011, Chorley Borough Council granted planning permission for a large development on the outskirts of the village of Eccleston. The site, known as Sagar House, had been home to the British holiday company Pontins from 1987 until 2009, prior to the company going into administration and its subsequent purchase by a Jersey based investment company with links to the Britannia Hotels group.

To honour this well-known brand and provide recognition of the site’s former use, it was suggested by the council to use Pontins as a theme for the naming of streets on the new development.

The four proposed street names reflected both current and historic Pontins sites, and were as follows:

• Ainsdale Crescent

• Barton Hall Court

• Christchurch Avenue

• Seacroft Drive

As recommended within Chorley Council’s ‘Street Naming and Numbering Guidance Notes’, consultation regarding the proposed names was made with relevant parties, including the developer, the Executive Member (Transformation), Shadow Portfolio Holder (Transformation) and the parish council, in order to gauge opinion and ensure no factors had been overlooked in the naming process.

The proposed names, unfortunately, received negative feedback from the parish council who reported that local residents were unhappy with the use of names reflecting the former owners, Pontins. It was felt locally that Pontins had, in the latter years of occupancy, let the site fall into a state of disrepair and had consequently sold the site to a housing developer: an unpopular decision in the village. The council had been unaware of these feelings and were therefore more than happy to reconsider their original suggested street names.

Outcomes

Further consultation with the parish council uncovered the fact that the site had historically been used as an orchard before the erection of Sagar House, and it was suggested to reference the proposed street names around this feature. As Eccleston has been widely acknowledged as the ‘Evesham of the North’, due to its microclimate and prolific fruit production, the orchard connection was considered even more appropriate.

The replacement names proposed by the council were therefore based on varieties of apples that may have grown on the site;

• Braeburn Crescent

• Bramley Drive

• Cortland Avenue

• Laxton Court

Once the new names had been researched and passed through the consultation process, they were confirmed and communicated to all relevant parties. Feedback from the parish council indicates that the new names have been well received and the council has conducted itself in a positive way.

Key benefits

• the selection and adoption of appropriate street names that reference the development site’s historical use

• engagement and consultation with relevant parties, in accordance with published guidelines, to ensure consideration of all facts and opinions

• positive feedback from the local community acknowledging the sympathetic response from the council.

View from the authority

“This was not simply a paper exercise. By engaging and involving the public we now have a list of pre-approved street names, with absolute relevance to local geography, history or culture, from which developers can, if they wish, select.”

-Len Gregory Cabinet Member for Transportation and Street Services

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