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Imperial Way and Rhodes Way are among the street names that can be changed

Residents may be able to vote on changing street names with colonial and imperial ties in a new rule set for approval by Watford Borough Council.

The new policy proposes that locals may rename roads with links to the British Empire or the slave trade if two-thirds of residents approve the change.

Places such as Imperial Way, Rhodes Way, Clive Way and Colonial Way were brought up as the council decided to consider the change following the July 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

British Imperialist Cecil Rhodes.  Rhodes not only has a Watford street named after him, but also has a statue in an Oxford University

British Imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes not only has a Watford street named after him, but also has a statue in an Oxford University

The issue was raised by Labor councilor Asif Khan in the summer of 2020.

In a statement issued at the time by Watford Labor, Cllr Khan said street and building names should reflect the “rich, deep cultural history of the city rather than any negative connotation.”

He added: ‘Watford has been enriched by ethnic minority citizens who have come from all over the world or were born in the UK.

“People like Luther Blissett, Anthony Joshua and John Barnes are just a few who have contributed to our city, but there are many more.”

Imperial Road at Watford.  Residents may be able to vote on changing street names with Colonial and Imperial ties in new rule set for approval by Watford Borough Council

Imperial Road at Watford. Residents may be able to vote on changing street names with Colonial and Imperial ties in new rule set for approval by Watford Borough Council

Tola Dabiri, of Brick By Brick Communities, which researches black history in Watford, welcomed the council’s move, the BBC reports.

She said: ‘I think anything that encourages the community to participate in local affairs can only be a good thing.

“Not everyone will be in favor of actually changing names that are perceived as offensive, and so allowing everyone to comment also creates a debate on these issues.”

The policy said that renaming streets “will generally be avoided” unless they are likely to be “offensive” or “cause problems for emergency services,” police said. Hertfordshire Mercury.

However, the proposal stated that each case would be considered on an individual basis.

Rhodes Way at Watford.  The new policy proposes that locals may rename roads with links to the British Empire or the slave trade if two-thirds of residents approve the change

Rhodes Way at Watford. The new policy proposes that locals may rename roads with links to the British Empire or the slave trade if two-thirds of residents approve the change

It added: ‘Renaming/renumbering a street is a time consuming process and any change can be very disruptive and cause financial costs for all residents involved.’

The cabinet of the municipality will make a decision on the new step on Monday.

In the summer of 2020, a wave of protests erupted around the world after George Floyd, a black man, was murdered by police officers in the US.

Since then, a number of anti-colonial campaigns have been launched or revised in the UK.

Earlier this month, four people were acquitted who admitted to having played a role in the destruction of the historic statue of slave trader Edward Colston during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

Photos from outside the courtroom show Sage Willoughby, Jake Skuse, Milo Ponsford and Rhian Graham (left to right) celebrating after receiving a not-guilty verdict at Bristol Crown Court, on January 5, 2022 in Bristol, England

Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, Sage Willoughby, 22, and Jake Skuse, 33, were acquitted of all criminal damages claims at Bristol Crown Court after they requested to hear the trial before a jury.

The bronze monument to the 17th-century merchant was torn down in Bristol on June 7, 2020, and later dumped in the harbor during an anti-racism demonstration, one of many that swept the world.

A long-running campaign to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College, Oxford was also busted.

Oriel College said they had decided not to remove the monument due to

Oriel College said they had decided not to remove the monument due to “significant obstacles” including financial costs and “complex” planning processes

However, the governing body of an Oxford university last May rejected calls for an investigation to tear down the statue.

Oriel College said they had decided not to remove the monument due to “significant obstacles” including financial costs and “complex” planning processes

It comes after a long-running campaign that demanded the removal of the British imperialist monument.

The investigation was launched by Oriel in June 2020 as the Black Lives Matter movement picked up steam.

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