Bid to change planning rules for Lawrie Reilly

Lawrie Reilly. Picture: Jayne Emsley
Lawrie Reilly. Picture: Jayne Emsley
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AN injury-time bid has been launched to change city planning rules and name a street after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly.

Councillors will vote tomorrow on the permanent tribute to the Famous Five striker, a move opposed by officials.

Planning committee convener Councillor Ian Perry said he believes fellow members will flock to support his motion, which calls for a street near Easter Road to be named Lawrie Reilly Place, and urges a review of current regulations.

Council rules say streets cannot be named after a person until a decade after their death in case their good reputation becomes tarnished.

However, given the footballer’s links with the area, supporters insist this is the only chance to honour him properly.

Cllr Perry’s last-ditch motion comes as the Evening News-backed campaign won support within the Scottish Government, with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill calling for the rules to be relaxed in the “exceptional case” of Reilly.

The Edinburgh East MSP said: “Lawrie is a hero in half of Edinburgh, and I would hope councillors would be willing to be a bit more flexible to pay tribute to one of Edinburgh’s greatest sons.”

Hibs fan Mr MacAskill, who sat next to Reilly during the 2013 Scottish Cup final, added: “I think the rules are right in the main, but Lawrie was an exceptional talent, and this is an exceptional case.”

The motion asks councillors to name the street “in recognition of Lawrie Reilly’s sporting achievements for Edinburgh and Scotland”.

It has the backing of Cllr Perry’s coalition colleague, SNP deputy convener Sandy Howat. Labour and SNP councillors make up the majority of the committee’s membership, with Perry saying: “I am confident that it will be supported at the committee.”

Green councillor Nigel Bagshaw, a member of the planning committee, also pledged his support, saying: “I’m a Jambo, but I think it’s the appropriate name.”

A report for tomorrow’s meeting signed off by council services for communities director Mark Turley – who is currently suspended on full pay pending an investigation into his handling of the Mortonhall baby ashes scandal – suggested that Reilly’s name would be put in a “name bank”, meaning it could only be considered in 2023.

The report instead recommended that the street – in the new Places for People development off Lochend Butterfly Way – be named after print-maker William Thyne, who died in 1978.

If the motion is passed, the ten-year rule will be re-examined by planning officials.

“We’d expect it to be a bit more flexible in future,” said Cllr Perry.

The campaign to honour Reilly has drawn support from across Edinburgh, including from fans of both city clubs.

Fellow Hibs legend Jackie McNamara has added his voice to calls for a street to be named after Reilly, who died last July.

He was the last surviving member of the Famous Five forward line, scoring 238 goals in 355 games. He earned the nickname “Last Minute Reilly” due to his knack of scoring decisive late goals.