Falkirk councillor’s street name background suggestion blasted

A former Provost’s proposal to tell people where the names on their street signs come from was blasted as a waste of cash.

By Kirsty Paterson
Friday, 6th September 2019, 10:00 am

One of the tasks of being a councillor is choosing names for new streets, many of which celebrate community activists or the district’s heritage.

Falkirk councillor Pat Reid suggested that in future, all street name signs also feature a brief background to the name, to give people an insight into why they had been chosen.

He made the suggestion at a recent meeting of Falkirk Council’s executive, telling the meeting: “There is a great increase in interest in the history of our local area and I think street names contribute quite a lot to that.

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“I think all these things remind us of our past and we forget our past at our peril.”

But the SNP’s depute leader, Paul Garner, dubbed the motion ‘absurd’.

He said: “I find it quite astonishing, but not surprising, that during his ten years in office, and ten years as part of a Labour-led administration that it has taken him until now to bring this proposal forward!”

Councillor Garner said that the council’s heads of roads had expressed concern at the idea, believing drivers and cyclists would slow down to read the signs.

He also told the meeting that, at a cost £4 per letter on every street sign, with hundreds of new homes being built across the district, costs would soon spiral.

Councillor Garner suggested instead having the information on the council’s website where anyone with an interest in local history could find it.

Conservative councillor Malcolm Nicol, however, said he had a lot of sympathy with Councillor Reid’s idea.

He said: “When a previous councillor, Stevie Jackson, and I named an area we chose the names of the victims of the Redding Pit Disaster. They are typical Scottish names and I’m sure residents have no idea why they are being used.

“I think adding short wording would increase pride in our communities.”

SNP councillors including David Alexander supported Councillor Garner’s suggestion of having the information on the council website as a compromise.

Cllr Alexander said: “I understand the desire to see the signs in place but the motion is a stab in the dark and we need the facts and figures for members to properly consider.”

Councillor Reid rejected Paul Garner’s claims of how much it would cost, saying it would be very short descriptions on each sign.

It was agreed that officers will report back on how much the scheme would cost and any road safety implications before a decision is made.