THE town council has clashed with developer the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company over its choice of street names, including one remembering author Charles Dickens who had no known links with the town.
The Regeneration Company is naming roads for the first phase of houses at Prince Philip Barracks, which it is developing. The development is called Dukes Quarter and will consist of 172 homes.
At last Monday’s full town-council meeting clerk Andrea Mann said councillors were being consulted on the naming of the roads as “a matter of courtesy”.
The Regeneration Company - a joint venture between Taylor Wimpey and Dorchester Regeneration and based at the Whitehill & Bordon Enterprise Park in Budds Lane - was not, the clerk said, looking for a long list of suggestions.
But councillors criticised some of the company’s choices, which they felt lacked a theme and were not reflective of Whitehill and Bordon’s heritage.
These proposed new street names are:
* Dickens Close - in honour of author Charles Dickens, born in Portsmouth.
* Brenton Close - Howard Brenton was a playwright from Portsmouth.
* Alice Emily Chandler Drive - Ms Chandler was a civilian killed in Bordon by a Luftwaffe bomb on August 16, 1940, with a Canadian officer and two NCOs.
* Prowse End - Captain CB Prowse was stationed in Bordon in 1904.
* Gilbert White Close - naturalist Gilbert White famously lived in Selborne.
* Jane Austen Close - author Jane Austen’s house is in Chawton.
* Lingard Road - John Lingard, 1771-1851, was a Winchester historian.
* Thorpe Close - Brigadier Thorpe CMG DSO was appointed Commander of Bordon and Longmoor in 1927.
* Acland Close - Lady Alice Acland was a feminist from Petersfield.
* Manning Road - Olivia Manning was a writer from Portsmouth.
* Falklands Road - in reference to the Falklands War.
Councillor Adam Carew told fellow members that he was all for remembering people like Gilbert White and even Jane Austen but, as for some of the other choices, he said: “I despair.”
“Why on earth, as much as I love Charles Dickens, are we remembering people from Portsmouth, from Winchester, from Petersfield?” he added. “None of which is relevant, none of which has any association whatsoever with Whitehill and Bordon.”
He explained that “place-shaping” was “so important”. “It’s about giving our area a sense of its own identity, so why on earth are we using names from other communities?” he wondered.
Mr Carew also described one of the ideas as “crass” and “insensitive”.
“I do worry about naming something Falklands Road,” he said. “It is within living memory and I think it’s too soon.”
Councillor Sally Pond had her doubts as well.
“The one thing that did strike me on this list was there’s no flow,” she said. “There’s not a common theme.”
Instead, it appears “totally random” as if “someone had gone through the telephone directory”.
There was also concern about the length of “Alice Emily Chandler Drive”.
“My only comment, apart from maybe having an Andy Tree Drive, would be just to have Chandler Drive,” newly elected councillor Andy Tree said.
The town’s regeneration - described by East Hampshire District Council as a “£1bn multi-partner, 15-year collaborative and transformational place-making programme” - will include 3,350 new homes, a new town centre and relief road, and almost 100,000 square metres of new commercial space.
So there will be no shortage of new streets to name.
As such, councillor Alan Waterhouse wondered if Whitehill Town Council should produce a go-to list of possible names and themes so it could fire out suggestions at the drop of a hat.
James Child, project lead at the Regeneration Company, said: “The naming of the roads, buildings and community facilities is very important, which is why we have chosen to engage with the local heritage society and members of the local community to produce names that reflect the heritage of Whitehill and Bordon, the barracks and the surrounding areas.
“Most of the names submitted to Whitehill Town Council reflect the local area and the rationale for each choice was explained in the information sent to the town council.
“We appreciate names are subjective and not everyone will agree on all of the suggestions. There are many more roads, buildings and places to be named and we are open to hearing opinions and ideas from the local community.”
Councillors agreed that Brenton Close, Lingard Road, Acland Close, Manning Road and Dickens Close were “not part of local Whitehill and Bordon history” and that Falklands Road was “insensitive”.
The town council suggested some alternatives:
* Webb Road/Close/Avenue - in memory of socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webb who lived in Passfield.
* Cobbett Road/Close/Avenue - in memory of William Cobbett, the Farnham MP who was said to have visited Bordon.
* Hudson Road/Close/Avenue - WE Hudson, author, naturalist and ornithologist, who wrote about this area.
* Wells Road/Close/Avenue - author HG Wells was said to have had local connections.
Street names have to get the final thumbs up from the Post Office, to ensure they are not too similar to others, before they land on the map.