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Controversial naming plan for new Hungerford housing development scrapped

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An unpopular plan to name streets at Hungerford's new Lancaster Park development after tanks has been ditched.

In February this newspaper reported on local opposition to the bid, with town historian Dr Hugh Pihlens leading the charge.

He said of the plan: “Why, one asks? And what is the connection between an RAF Lancaster bomber crashing eight miles away in 1944 and five army tank names?”

The Lancaster Park development.
The Lancaster Park development.

He suggested instead that “local field and locality names are adopted, as has been the tradition in Hungerford for decades”.

Dr Pihlens offered a list of names he considered more suitable. He concluded: “I do feel it is important to find appropriate names for these roads, as they will be a link from the 21st century to our heritage for decades to come.”

Hungerford mayor Helen Simpson said at the time: "I’ve written to West Berkshire Council...and I’ve asked if it would be possible to look again at Dr Pihlens’ suggestions.”

The district council initially said it feared it was too late to make any changes but a spokeswoman, Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “We’re looking at the legalities to ascertain whether the names could be changed at this late stage.”

Now the town council has said it is "pleased to announce that the five new street names for Lancaster Park, will reflect the choices made by Hungerford community."

The town council statement added: "After careful consultation with key interested parties and local historians in the town, the preferred choices were put forward. We are grateful to West Berkshire Council for its support and for negotiating with the developer."

The new names are: Jethro Tull Lane, Pidden Mead, Beacon Rise, Reeves Close and Sanham View.

The statement concluded: "We know our local historians will be thrilled to receive the news."

The history behind the names is as follows:

  • Jethro Tull – the agricultural pioneer and inventor of the seed drill lived at Prosperous Farm in Hungerford.
  • Pidden (originally spelt 'Pedden') – Pidden and Pidden East were the two common fields immediately to the south of the current development.
  • Beacon – the land belonged, it is believed, to Beacon Farm prior to development.
  • Reeves – Thomas Reeves owned one of the two fields in 1817.
  • Sanham – (originally spelt Sanum). The road past the John O’Gaunt school used to be called “Sanum Green Road”, leading to Sanham Green.

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