Unholy row over street names

Thomas More Gardens, Newtown
Thomas More Gardens, Newtown

DEVOUT Wiganers are campaigning to change the street names on a housing development in recognition of a famous Catholic saint.

Roman Catholics from churches across the borough are signing a petition to alter the names of the roads on the estate built on the site of the former St Thomas More Catholic High School in Newtown.

St Thomas More Catholic High School, Newtown, which formerly occupied the site

St Thomas More Catholic High School, Newtown, which formerly occupied the site

Believers are looking to change that with the petition, started by a regular worshipper at Sacred Heart RC Church, asking for the street names to have the word saint added to them where appropriate. The petition has been circulated to churches around Wigan and supporters are also being encouraged to write to the ward councillors about the proposed name changes. However, Wigan Council has admitted it is unlikely the petition will be successful.

Suggestions for a name change on a popular estate would have to be approved by at least two thirds of residents if they are to go ahead.

It is not the first time the lack of the word saint on the Newtown estate’s road signs has been brought up, but Wigan Council has admitted it is unlikely the petition will be successful as the street names were drawn up after speaking to church leaders and the process of altering them is extremely long-winded.

A council spokesman said: “When the development in question was first drawn up we sought advice from the Archdiocese of Liverpool on the then-proposed road names and had no objection so the names were carried forward.

When the development in question was first drawn up we sought advice from the Archdiocese of Liverpool on the then-proposed road names and had no objection so the names were carried forward

Council spokesman

“We have on numerous occasions put forward the suggestion for meeting with the person seeking the name change but as of yet they have not accepted our offer to explain the process of road naming and how they could go about changing the road name.”

In order for road names to be changed a sponsor has to lead the process and every resident living on the street has to be consulted due to the issues involved such as altering postal addresses and bank details.

A majority of at least two-thirds of everyone living on the street has to approve for the process to go ahead.

The council then officially changes the name and instructs the Royal Mail, emergency services, government and council departments as well as map providers such as Google. Residents themselves have to inform banks, credit agencies, mortgage companies, doctors and other personal contacts of the change, though the town hall will draw up official letters for them to hand out.

The housing development, which includes roads such as Thomas More Gardens, Thomas Street and More Street, was built by Redrow Homes following the demolition of the high school.

Thomas More served as lord chancellor to Henry VIII during the Tudor period and was executed in 1535 for treason after refusing to support the king’s splitting the country from the Roman Catholic Church and making himself the head of the new Church of England in order to divorce of Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne

Boleyn.

He was canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1935 and is now widely venerated by the Catholic faith.