Wetheringsett: Mid Suffolk facing U-turn over naming village road after scholar Richard Hakluyt

Richard Hakluyt

Richard Hakluyt - Credit: Contributed

A COUNCIL is facing a U-turn over its position on a village honouring their “founding father” by naming a street after him.

Councillors at Mid Suffolk District Council gave their backing to a road in Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, being named ‘Hakluyt Close’ after Richard Hakluyt – a well-known scholar in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Officials at the district council have said the name Hakluyt, pronounced (Hack-loot), is too difficult to pronounce and would hamper emergency services trying to find the road.

Speaking at tonight’s (April 16) Mid Suffolk meeting, Andrew Stringer, leader of the opposition, said: “In this particular instance the local historic link is distinct for what is likely to be a very small risk (to the emergency services). If a house is on fire the development is next to the school. You could call it whatever you like and it would be found, if it’s going to be Hakluyt Close, Hockey Hill, there’s no issue at all.”

Charles Flatman, councillor for Eye agreed with Mr Stringer. He criticised Mid Suffolk for attempting to over-rule the parish council. He said: “It appears to me we are making hard going of this. At the end of the day the (parish council) are in favour and I will go along with them myself. It’s only a seven letter word, what has it come to.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks for Worlingworth said: “I think it’s very important to listen to the views of the village. I know when an ambulance has been called difficult names are spelt down the phone and then off they go.”

But Carl Reeder corporate manager for information management and ICT for Mid Suffolk defended the council’s position. He said all emergency services had backed the council’s position.

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He said: “These guidelines are there for a reason and I would expect us to follow them. Over the years the guidelines have become tighter.

“What we do not want to do is exasperate the situation going forward. For the fire service and in my personal and professional point of view we should stick with something we know how to spell and it reduces the time that is wasted by the emergency services.”

Tony Alston councillor for Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford Parish Council said he was delighted. He said: “We hoped the councillors would be behind us. We are delighted to be at this stage and that our efforts have not been in vain.”

Richard Hakluyt published works chronicling English efforts in navigation and exploration. Mid Suffolk has put forward ‘Jubilee Lane’ as an alternative name. It is expected to make its final decision by the end of the week.