By Local Democracy Reporter
PURFLEET could be renamed if councillors choose to back a resident petition which calls for the town to be recognised for its position on the Thames.
The residents in Purfleet have been calling for the town to be renamed to Purfleet-on-Thames for the past 12 months and last year a petition was submitted to the council with 611 signatures.
It resulted in a public consultation being undertaken by Thurrock Council, which found that 84 per cent of the 185 people who responded were in favour.
Next week councillors will vote on whether it should go ahead.
Councillor Victoria Holloway, who represents the town, said people want the town renamed as part of the wider regeneration plans that include building 2,850 new homes, a new medical centre, film and TV production studios and improved transport infrastructure.
She said: “There is a strong sense that people want it changed as part of the Purfleet regeneration. People feel really passionate about the town and its history and they want to take advantage of its position on the Thames.
“They also want to see the Thames used more and for it to be a strategic part of the redevelopment.
“I think there is no harm in supporting what the residents want, there is logic to their idea. Other areas have taken advantage of being on the river and I think we should too.”
Council documents on the consultation state: “The majority of the respondents were positive about changing the name to celebrate the history of the area, formally recognise the link with the river Thames, help promote the planned regeneration activity, reflect the new aspirations of the people and place, and to support raising the profile of Purfleet.
“Respondents who did not support the change were mostly concerned about the cost and that it was unlikely to make a material difference to the area.”
The documents go on to explained that the costs would not be significant but there will be some associated with changes to road signs. Initially entry signs into the town would be changes at the earliest opportunity, while the rest of the signs would be changed when the regeneration work gets underway.
Initial plans for the £1billion regeneration of Purfleet were approved in April last year and further details are now being drawn up. It is not known when the work will begin.