Street name shake-up after Lawrie Reilly campaign

Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly. Picture: Jane Barlow
Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE names of the city’s sporting and civic heroes can be immortalised on city streets almost immediately after death following a shake-up of a controversial council policy.

Under current rules, a new street or housing development can only take the name of a Capital figurehead if they have been dead for ten years or more.

But the city is set to slash this by half – to five years – and may even permit an immediate tribute in exceptional circumstances while the ban on christening streets after the living will be upheld.

It comes months after a successful Evening News campaign to christen a new street near Easter Road after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly despite strict naming policy rules initially thwarting the bid because he had only died last July.

Today, the former striker’s widow, Iris, 76, backed the expected revamp of street-naming rules.

She said: “It is a bit silly to wait ten years because if you are going to name a street after someone you need to do it fairly soon while the memory is really fresh.

“In Lawrie’s case he gave so many people a lot of pleasure so why wait ten years especially because it’s been a long time since he played.”

Councillor Alex Lunn, who spearheaded the campaign to put Mr Reilly on Edinburgh’s street map, said the shake-up was a victory for common sense.

He added: “If an Edinburgh legend passes on and there’s an opportunity to name a street after them close to where they plied their trade then I don’t think we should be waiting five years to be honest.

“We have already proved it can be done immediately and the committee must have the power to name streets immediately if a similar situation occurs to Lawrie Reilly Place.”

Green councillor for the Inverleith ward, Nigel Bagshaw, who backed the Lawrie Reilly campaign, said he supported the christening streets after “normal people”.

He added: “I think it is common sense to be able to be able to remember people while their memories are still fresh in people’s minds but I also think it’s good to name streets after normal people. I think there’s a public demand for naming streets after football players.”

A review of the street name policy will be debated at City Chambers on Thursday.

katie.richardson@edinburghnews.com