A few years ago it became apparent that a number of non-residential roads in our parish had been awarded names by Breckland District Council that did not correspond with either historical provenance or popular usage. I brought this anomaly to the notice of the parish meeting and after lengthy discussions it was decided the situation was undesirable, not just because the names chosen by the district council were unknown to anybody and had no relevance in the parish but also because difficulty might arise for the emergency services in locating an incident. In the circumstances I agreed I would arrange for the roads to be re-named according to historic and popular tradition. The effect of this was that the road in Hoe leading off of Hall Road beside Flint House and Crossways would again become ‘Ayer’s Lane’, the road opposite Manor Farm in Hoe ‘Barker’s Lane’, the road from Manor Farm north towards Worthing ‘Worthing Road’ as far as the village boundaries and the road from Holt Road leading to the hospital would again be ‘Sandy Lane’. These road names are those used locally, correspond with a Tithe map of 1814 and they were also included with the Foreword of the ‘Snapshot’ collection of photographs everybody in the parish received in 2011.
Shortly after this decision was made I contacted Breckland Council to ask that the road re-naming be implemented. As I had understood from earlier enquiries that the non-residential nature of the roads would ensure the process was fairly streamlined I had assumed that the changes had taken place but recently discovered that was not the case. In the circumstances I have communicated again with Breckland over the issue a number of times and some further consideration has been given to the practicalities of bringing the proposed changes about, having regard to current policy. This includes not having two road names the same in a single parish, avoiding frequent changes of name in a single length of road and where there is such a name change endeavouring to arrange it at a physical change that is discernible on the ground.
When account was taken of our parish’s request and current Breckland policy the following proposals were made by Breckland………
· The road from Holt Road to Dereham Hospital would have a single road name for the sections in both Hoe and Dereham to avoid a name change on a road where there is no physical change on the ground. That name could not be ‘Sandy Lane’ as our parish requested because there is already a Sandy Lane in Dereham; it is therefore proposed to retain ‘Beetley Road’ and apply it to the whole length of the road.
· The road between Flint House and Crossways in Hoe will be changed from ‘Back Lane’ back to ‘Ayers’ Lane’ as requested.
· The road opposite Manor Farm will be changed from ‘Hoe Road’ to ‘Barker’s Lane’ as requested.
· The road from Manor Farm linking with Worthing would become ‘Worthing Road’ but as far as the railway crossing rather than the village boundary, as proposed by the parish. This is because there is no obvious indication on the ground of any change or physical feature which would support a road name change in a single length of road.
The level crossing however creates a natural break as it does at the other level crossing where Hall Road and Manor Farm Lane meet in Hoe. (Also see below).
· During the course of reviewing the name changes proposed by our parish, Breckland concluded that three changes of road name between Worthing Bridge and the level crossing was undesirable and not in line with current policy. Currently the first section to the bend at Swanton Morley Road is Worthing Road, from there the residential section is Church Road through to Church Lane where it finally becomes Hoe Road. Breckland propose the whole length from the bridge to the crossing should be Church Road.
N.B. It was decided by the parish that the current situation where the road passing the Anglian Water pumping station then across the crossroads and onwards to Worthing is known as ‘Hoe Road’ is undesirable, misleading, confusing and against convention. Both sections of road run through the centre of the village of Hoe and the only place it runs towards is Worthing. Conventionally roads with parish names run towards that parish (so we have for example Holt Road and Fakenham Road in our parish) and this probably explains why, certainly through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s (in all likelihood still) this particular road was referred to by the local police as ‘the Worthing Road’.
I would point out that Breckland have considered the road name changes proposed by the parish at some length and acceded to our requests as closely as current policy allows, whilst proposing an additional change to rationalise the road naming in one of the two main roads running through Worthing.
It should also be underscored that all of the changes proposed are to complete roads or parts of roads that are non-residential and there will be no impact on anybody’s address. The changes were proposed by the parish simply to facilitate easier locating and overcome some confusion created from apparently arbitrary naming by local authorities in the past.
Trevor Wood ((Parish meeting chairman)