Councils in Britain have been told to stop naming streets after famous people because they might one day be unmasked as child sex abusers.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils throughout the UK, said that places should not be named after individuals – including fallen soldiers – because of the risk that they might subsequently be linked to “inappropriate activities”.
The new rules were issued by GeoPlace, the local government body in charge of the database of addresses used by councils and emergency services. They are partly a response to the scandal involving BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile.
After Savile’s death in 2011 it came to light that he had abused scores of children and young adults, many of whom were vulnerable, over a period of decades. Many streets and buildings bore his name because of the charity work he did during his lifetime. All of have now been renamed – sometimes at significant financial expense.
However, the new rules have been met with anger in Britain. Tony Harbour, councillor for Didcot North East, Oxfordshire, once campaigned for several streets in his area to be renamed in memory of seven bomb disposal experts from Vauxhall Barracks.
He said he was “totally and utterly against” the new rules, adding: “This is one way that we can recognize the service that has been given, but also for our communities to feel involved. Unfortunately the likes of Jimmy Savile do happen, but very infrequently. Why should good men and women not be recognized because of a couple of rotten apples?”
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