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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 16:29 GMT
Revive historic place names - MP
Road sign
Too few road signs show real place names, Mr Rosindell said
Road signs should bear the names of "historic" towns, villages and counties rather than those of "dreadful" made-up administrative districts, an MP says.

Conservative Andrew Rosindell told the Commons that communities hundreds of years old were being taken over by "artificial creations of Whitehall".

For instance, his own constituency of Romford, Essex, was signed as part of Havering - a "typical 60s construct".

Historic names should also appear on Ordnance Survey maps, the MP added.

Romford rapped

Mr Rosindell said: "We must stop the erosion of local identities and restore the pride people naturally feel in belonging to a town, county or village."

He added: "My own town of Romford is probably one of the best examples...

"As I travel back after a busy week at Westminster to my home in Romford, within my home county of Essex, I enter the boundaries of Essex and Romford, but nowhere do I see a road sign alerting me to either place.

"They have been written off the map by a dreadful local government decision."

The council website for Havering - a London borough - states: "Havering borough has a long history and an exciting future.

"Granted a royal liberty 540 years ago, the borough has held a regular street market since 1247."

But Mr Rosindell said he objected to the name being extended to cover other nearby towns, including Romford.

He told MPs: "London boroughs, elected mayors and transport authorities must not be allowed to strip people of their local identities."

He added: "We must mandate local authorities to install signage indicating towns, and counties and villages, giving their names predominance over the administrative names.

"Let's conserve our heritage so that future generations will know the distinct and real heritage of a Yorkshireman, a Middle Saxon, a Lancastrian or, like me, a proud Essex lad."

Another MP shouted out, to laughter: "What county is he from?"

Mr Rosindell's proposals - outlined in a 10-minute rule bill - have little chance of becoming law.


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