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Gloucestershire Business News

Council extends consultation on proposed name change

Tewkesbury Borough Council is extending a consultation on its intention to change its name to North Gloucestershire Borough Council, giving people until the end of July to respond.

Due to restrictions placed on the council in the run-up to the parliamentary election, the council was prevented from actively consulting as it normally would. As a result, the feedback period has been extended, and the consultation will now run until Wednesday, July 31.

Exploring an alternative name for the council originated during feedback from councillors, community groups and local businesses, which indicated the name 'Tewkesbury Borough' and the council's current logo weren't considered representative of the entire borough.

Tewkesbury Borough covers a large geographic area and encompasses many towns and villages including Bishop's Cleeve, Churchdown, Highnam and Brockworth. Tewkesbury parish accounts for under 3% of the borough's geographical area and around 10% of its population.

At a meeting of council in May 2024, Tewkesbury Borough councillors were 'minded to' change the council's name, subject to a consultation so that stakeholders can provide feedback and raise any suggestions, as well as share views on logo options. Members of the public, local businesses, town and parish councils, and other partners and interested parties are welcome to share their views.

Following the consultation, a final decision will be made at an extraordinary council meeting that will require a resolution to be passed by a majority of at least two thirds of the councillors who attend.

Click here  to participate in the consultation.

For those unable to access the consultation online, hard copies remain available at Tewkesbury's Public Services Centre, the council's advice and information centres in Churchdown and Winchcombe, and at Tewkesbury Leisure Centre.

Anyone who needs assistance completing the form can call the council's customer services team on 01684 295010.

Cllr Richard Stanley, Tewkesbury Borough Council's leader, said: "The extension of the consultation period provides an opportunity for everyone in our community to share their views on the name change. We want to ensure that the name of our borough accurately represents the entire area, and the feedback we've received so far suggests that many feel the current name does not.

"Our goal is to adopt a name that reflects the diverse and vibrant communities we serve, from Twyning to Brockworth, Highnam to Snowshill. The proposed name, North Gloucestershire Borough Council, would provide a clearer geographic context and help us promote our borough more effectively on a regional and national level.

"We are committed to a cost-conscious and phased implementation of this change, ensuring minimal financial impact while achieving a more inclusive identity for our council.

"I'd like to stress that no decision has been made on changing the name, and I encourage everyone, including residents, businesses, and local councils, to participate in the consultation and help shape the future identity of our borough."

The feedback received via the consultation so far has raised several questions. These include:

Will a name change be very costly?

Changing the council's name would be delivered slowly over time, and in line with an approach that would be adopted if only the logo was being updated. The logo requires an update anyway because it is out of date and difficult to use on digital assets such as the website and online forms. A budget of £10,000 has been identified for the name change.

Design work and digital asset updates can be completed in-house and physical signage would be updated and replaced in line with normal maintenance cycles.

A name change would be rolled out in two cost-conscious phases:

Phase one - autumn 2024: This would focus on areas where the new name can be applied without any additional spending, such as the council's digital channels and assets.

Phase two - winter 2024 onwards: This would include physical assets, such as street furniture, vehicles and signage. Items would only be updated as part of their usual life cycle, ensuring no additional cost to the council.

Should a name change be a priority for the council?

A consultation on the borough council's new Council Plan (held in early 2024) asked respondents to consider whether the name Tewkesbury Borough is representative of the area in which they live. 55% of respondents said that they do not think the name is representative. Moreover, the further away respondents lived from Tewkesbury, the less represented they felt by the name Tewkesbury Borough.

The current name can also be confusing for some people who may not realise they can access services and support from the council. For example, some residents and businesses affected by flooding in January 2024 said they had not asked for help from the council because they thought they needed to live in Tewkesbury town.

Additionally, during a Tewkesbury Business Voice event held in February 2024, it was raised that the name North Gloucestershire Borough Council would provide immediate geographic context and help to raise the borough's profile regionally and nationally. Bringing a stronger identity to the area would help to attract investment and support a wider recruitment pool for local businesses.

Does the name 'North Gloucestershire' accurately represent all areas of the borough?

Several alternative names have been considered, such as Severn Vale Borough Council and Gloucestershire Rural Borough Council, but the council decided not to pursue them because they do not respond to the issues with its current name, they do not clarify where the borough is and they risk excluding other parts of the area. The name North Gloucestershire would avoid prioritising one town over others and would promote a more inclusive identity that more equally represents all communities.

Will the name change result in a loss of cultural identity for Tewkesbury town?

Tewkesbury town's status as a historically rich and culturally significant area will remain undiminished. It will continue to be a flourishing tourist destination for visitors from across the world and benefit from a wide variety of events throughout the year. Additionally, Tewkesbury Town Council's name will remain unchanged.

There will be no impact on the council's borough status or the services the council provides to Tewkesbury town or the rest of the borough.

Will the new name cause confusion with Gloucestershire County Council and South Gloucestershire Council?

Potential confusion between the borough council and other local authorities as a result of a name change is something that councillors will need to consider carefully before voting at the extraordinary council meeting later this year.

Why can't the money be spent maintaining the borough's roads?

The maintenance of roads across the borough is undertaken by Gloucestershire County Council, and this work is completed using a separate budget to that of the borough council - one that would be unaffected by the name change.

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