The Labour Group at South Glos Council has tonight abstained on a motion proposing to rename the Severn Bridge in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Councillor Ian Boulton, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said:
“2022 is going to be a year that I hope we can all look forward to and celebrate for many unique and meaningful reasons… and the fact that Her Majesty The Queen will mark her landmark Platinum Jubilee is probably high up there for many of our residents.
Superficially this proposal to rename the Severn Bridge may seem to be a perfectly acceptable and reasonable tribute. While it is true the Severn Bridge technically links South Gloucestershire to North Gloucestershire we do need to understand the feelings of everybody who has a stake in this proposal.
When the Prince of Wales Bridge was renamed in honour of Prince Charles’s 70th Birthday, (and his 60th Anniversary of being created The Prince of Wales), there was significant debate, particularly in Wales, about this renaming – and this stoked political controversy at the time.
Given these historic and current sensitivities the Labour group has asked if anyone has sounded out these proposals with the Palace to see if this is a tribute that would actually be appreciated by the Crown or whether there was a more suitable and relevant tribute that might leave a more substantial legacy than changing the name of the Severn Bridge. We have also asked whether other Gloucestershire, and more importantly, Welsh authorities were consulted on this proposal.
In our view, this proposal might actually be more fitting, and more appropriate, not only if this Council consults further but uses this opportunity to build bridges with the Leaders of the Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire County Councils by working with them and also the MPs for Monmouth and Forest of Dean and not just the South Gloucestershire MPs before writing to the Secretary of State for Transport.
2022 should be a year of thanksgiving for many reasons – and we hope that South Gloucestershire can play our full part in that. However as there has been a failure to consult on this suggestion with stakeholders the Labour Group has taken the decision to abstain at this time.”