Agenda item

Petition 557 - Renaming of B1335


Councillor Maney introduced the report and stated that Cabinet had adopted the Naming and Numbering of Streets and Highways Assets Policy in July 2021, which enabled the Council to receive requests for the naming of roads, including after living or deceased people, which Cabinet would then determine. He explained that at November’s Full Council, Councillor Van Day had submitted a petition with over 230 signatures, calling for the B1335, Aveley Bypass, to be renamed in honour of the late Lance Corporal Nicky Mason. Councillor Maney stated that Lance Corporal Mason had been serving in Afghanistan with the 2nd battalion Parachute Regiment when he was killed by an explosion in September 2008 at the age of 26. He stated that as a lifelong Aveley resident he knew of Lance Corporal Mason, albeit not closely, and felt that his loss had greatly impacted the tightknit Aveley community, and impacted even more so his family including his father Dennis and brother Lee. He added that both Dennis and Lee had done so much to support ex-service members and to keep Lance Corporal Mason’s memory alive, and both fully supported the call to rename the Aveley Bypass as proposed.

Councillor Maney felt that the public outpouring of support for Councillor Van Day’s petition was evidence that time had not erased the sense of loss felt by the community, and the petition had continued to attract more submissions even after its presentation to Full Council last year. He explained that even though there had been overwhelming public support for the proposal, one objection had been received from one of the local community forums. He felt that the objection was not a view shared by the wider community and was not supported by any of the three Aveley Ward Councillors, who had been directly elected to represent their residents. He mentioned that the longer established Aveley forum, chaired by Rev. Alan Field, had previously approached the Council with a desire to rename a road or area after Lance Corporal Mason. Councillor Maney felt that the hundreds of names added to the petition outweighed the sole objection received. He asked Cabinet to evaluate the objection and urged Cabinet members to respectfully disagree.

Councillor Maney explained that the Aveley bypass was the main route through Aveley and would have been well known to Lance Corporal Mason, who would have had to cross the road many times enroute to his local secondary school. He stated that Lance Corporal Mason had served directly in the fight against Islamic extremism and had made the ultimate sacrifice whilst doing so. He felt that those who fought terrorists overseas did so in order that people back at home, including Aveley residents, could live beyond the reach of extremists. Councillor Maney felt that it would be a fitting memorial to Lance Corporal Mason if the Aveley bypass were to be renamed and bear his name, and would also be a comfort to Lance Corporal Mason’s family to see him commemorated in this way. He summarised and asked Cabinet Members to consider the proposal, and if minded to agree, decide upon a new name for the road.

Councillor Van Day asked his question as follows: “will the Portfolio Holder agree to take into consideration Lance Corporal Nicky Mason’s father’s wish for how the old Aveley bypass be renamed?” Councillor Maney replied that the wishes of Lance Corporal Mason’s family would be at the heart of the decision taken by Cabinet, all of whom would work with the family.

Lance Corporal Mason’s brother, Mr. Lee Mason, was invited to speak by the Leader and felt that the most fitting name for the road would be Lance Corporal Nicky Mason Way.

Councillor Huelin recognised that the forum who were objecting to the proposal formed only part of the Aveley community, and both forums from Aveley had been involved in discussions regarding the proposal. She welcomed the petition that had been submitted to Full Council by Councillor Van Day, which she felt included voices from across the community. Councillor Coxshall queried why there were two forums in Aveley. He also apologised to the Mason family for the delay in getting to this stage, and asked the Portfolio Holder as to why there had been a delay. Councillor Huelin explained that although there were currently two forums in Aveley, officers would restart their work with these forums after purdah to see if they could be united. Councillor Maney replied that there had been a delay as the Council’s previous position did not support the naming of roads after people living or deceased. He confirmed that he had not personally agreed with this policy and therefore the new policy had been agreed by Cabinet last year. He felt that the new policy recognised deserving people, and thanked Councillor Van Day, the Mason family, and the Aveley community for their hard work on this proposal. The Leader agreed that the new policy recognised deserving people.

Cabinet agreed that the B1335, Aveley Bypass, should be renamed to ‘Lance Corporal Nicky Mason Way’.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:

1. Agreed to rename the Aveley Bypass as Lance Corporal Nicky Mason Way.

Councillor Van Day left the meeting at 7.27pm.

Supporting documents: