Published: 00:01, 26 July 2016
Members of Tenterden Royal British Legion (RBL) branch are celebrating after being told that roads in a housing development can be named after fallen soldiers.
A decision by housing giant Taylor Wimpey to reject the family names etched on Tenterden’s war memorial as street names “for legal reasons” caused upset.
Neal Beaven, chairman of the Tenterden branch of the RBL said he felt “let down” by the ruling and the missed opportunity to honour the fallen in the Tent 1 scheme, which will sit between Recreation Ground Road and Smallhythe Road in the town.
But the 249-home site is also being developed by construction firm Dandara, and when the Kentish Express contacted its boss, Ciaran Downey, he said he had no objection to the proposal.
The idea of remembering Tenterden’s war heroes in the new development had received the unanimous backing of Tenterden town councillors, but the final say was in the hands of Ashford Borough Council (ABC).
A council officer said the process of using the names of soldiers was not straightforward as it required obtaining the consent of the next of kin and there was also a tight timescale involved, but ABC has now confirmed the names can be used.
The RBL selected the names of families who had suffered multiple loss of life and these soldiers’ names will now live on in the streets of Tenterden.
Mr Beaven said: “The decision to name the streets after the fallen soldiers is the correct one.
“It is only right and proper for us to honour these brave men who are the town’s heroes.
“I was concerned the roads might end up being named after a corporate bigwig, or be given some soft, marketable name that did not reflect the town’s history.
“It’s only right we might have a Holdstock [name of fallen soldier] Avenue and not an Acacia Avenue.”
When Tenterden Town Council learned Taylor Wimpey could not accept the soldiers’ names, members were initially forced to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new list based on the history of the area.
These names are now being considered for the remaining roads.
Stanley Goodsall, 87, is one of the relatives of the fallen soldiers who lost three uncles – two in the First World War and one in the Second World War – whose names are on the war memorial.
The Goodsall name has now been accepted as a street name and Mr Goodsall, who himself served for 11 years in the Merchant Navy, said: “I’m over the moon that the Goodsall name will be used and that my uncles will be remembered for their sacrifice.
“I think they would be very proud along with my whole family. It’s wonderful the right thing has been done.”
Mr Goodsall says he is the last to bear the family name, so the decision to use it carries even more weight.
Mr Beaven added: “Not every road will be named after a soldier but we will have a sprinkling of soldiers’ names throughout the development and it is right these men will now be honoured for their sacrifice.”
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