Residents will get the chance to have their say on street names after a motion to review roads reflecting “negative history” was passed by a council.

Watford Borough Council agreed during a full council meeting last night (Tuesday) to pass the motion by Cllr Asif Khan, which called for roads to be renamed that "are named after people who were involved in the slave trade, colonisation and oppression".

Cllr Khan said in the motion that street names, buildings, statues and monuments should "reflect our town and that they do not contain any of the negative history which this town abhors".

Street names listed for change by the Labour Leggatts ward councillor include Imperial Way, Colonial Way, Clive Way and Rhodes Way.

During the virtual council meeting last night, Cllr Khan said he was “absolutely in favour of having a reasonable approach to this” and that it is “important to consult” with people and businesses across the town.

Read more - Council to consider changing street names containing 'negative history'

With the motion having been unanimously agreed on by councillors, a task and finish group will now be set-up to consult with residents and local businesses across Watford for them to have their say before recommendations are made to cabinet.

Watford Observer:

Several councillors spoke in favour of the motion, including Mayor Peter Taylor, who said that it is “right to have a group that goes away and looks at this in detail”.

He said: "If it is done badly we know that these kinds of issues can be highly divisive and I think at the moment the last thing we need is a debate that leads to angry voices on all sides.

"But having said that I completely recognise the need to look at it.

“We won’t just be looking at existing street names but we will also be talking about a policy for future street names which I think will be a really helpful thing to do.

“I do think that we should look at how we can honour those people who have made a significant contribution from a range of backgrounds to our town when we name these streets and it is the right thing to do.

“The committee that looks at this will do it in a very thoughtful way.”

Watford Observer:

Watford Borough Council agreed on the motion last night

Cllr Sohail Bashir, who also spoke in favour of the motion, said: “I very much welcome and support this motion.

“History is not just a thing of the past, it influences everyday life.

“In my view the names Colonial Way, Imperial Way, Clive Way and Rhodes Way represent controversial symbols of racism, oppression and discrimination.

“The names of the roads in question are a legacy of slavery, oppression, death and destruction and they must be wiped from out town’s history.”

Cllr Mark Hofman added that street names, buildings, or public statues should “reflect our open, liberal, democratic traditions”.

He said: “They should not celebrate individuals, groups or outdated practices that represent some of the most terrible practices in human history.

“Exploitation, degradation, and the unethical buying and selling of human beings for the purpose of forced and unpaid work is blatantly unethical and has no place in 21st century Britain.

“That is why we need to carefully consider our civic architecture, whether that be our street names, buildings, or public statues.”

After the motion was passed, Cllr Khan said: “I am pleased that the motion was unanimously passed and that the town together can move forward and ensure that roads will reflect not just our heritage but the town as it is today.”