Responding to calls for public realm changes

Many councils are currently receiving calls for changes to the names of estates and streets and the removal of statues – and objections to such proposals. Building cohesive communities lies at the core of councils’ day-to-day business and as leaders of place, shaping and supporting a local identity and helping to develop relationships and engagement between different parts of the local community are key to achieving this.

The suggestions in this document are aimed at ensuring that whether or not a proposed change takes place, the outcome does not damage community cohesion and indeed provides an opportunity to enhance it. Those calling for change may not appreciate the limits on the role of a council in delivering it. These may need to be clarified publicly.

Some statues, etc may not be under council control, for example if they are on private land. In such cases the council may still have a role in granting planning or naming approval for changes. Statues may also be listed and councils may want to liaise with the listing authorities over planned changes.

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