Anger at plan to change name of part of historic Plymouth street
MOVES to rename a historic city street have sparked a protest by local residents.
Plymouth City Council has told 212 people who live in the northern end of Wolseley Road that it is considering changing the name of their road.
The change would slash the end off Plymouth's longest road and cost every household in the affected area at least £50.
The letters arrived on doormats of homes between Saltash Passage and St Budeaux at the end of last week.
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Derek Tait, one of the residents, said: "The total cost will run into hundreds of pounds for each occupant because they will have to change things like their deeds, driving licences, utility bills, their mail, tax forms, bank accounts and every other item that requires an address.
"The whole idea is ludicrous and I am surprised that council leader Tudor Evans would even allow such a ridiculous letter to be sent out.
"I believe this is all the work of one person. Why the council would take notice of one person and spend so much money on such folly is beyond me."
In its letter to residents, the council says that street layout changes have left the end of Wolseley Road appearing as a separate road and not a continuation.
Howard Beveridge said it was "preposterous" to think of changing the name of what was once the main road to the Saltash ferry – the only way from Plymouth into Cornwall before the bridges were built.
"Some of my neighbours don't want to be associated with areas like Swilly," he said. "If they don't want to be associated with it then they should push off."
City historian Chris Robinson said: "I don't see the point of changing names. Plymouth did it to Barbican streets at the beginning of the 19th century. Within ten to 20 years most had reverted to their old names.
"It's a bit of a nonsense really."
But the change won some support from Eileen Corbyn, aged 85, who has lived in Wolseley Road since 1977.
She said the length of the road made it confusing for visitors.
And she added: "Some parts of Wolseley Road aren't very salubrious."
However, she would not want to pay £50. "I am on a limited budget and that £50 would be my week's rations."
Resident Alan Lang asked: "Why would I want it changed? I don't see any good reason to change."
Bill Thompson, who has lived in the same house for 36 years, said: "This house was built in 1898 and it was Wolseley Road then – why should it change now?
He said that costs would go well beyond the £50. If the street numbers changed he would also have to pay to change the stained-glass number on his door.
"People should be proud to have the name. It's not confusing to me or to anybody.
"This is the longest road in Plymouth."
Graham Carne, a recent arrival in the street, said: "We have just moved in and changed all our details, like bank, driving licence and so on – and we wouldn't want to go through that again.
"You would think the council has better things to do with its time and money."
A council spokeswoman said: "The letter was sent after we received a number of requests from a resident asking us to consider changing the name of this section of the road.
"We are consulting with these residents so that every household can have their say as to whether they agree or disagree for a name change to be considered.
"At least two-thirds of the households would need to agree before anything is considered. If residents are in favour of the change further consultation with residents, businesses and councillors will take place."
She said the standard fee for renaming was £25 for the official renumbering certificate and £25 for informing more than 60 statutory bodies.