Local councillors are divided over a proposal by the DUP’s Philip Brett to rename Stiles Way in Antrim as Queen Elizabeth II Way.
Councillor Brett put forward the motion to Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s monthly meeting on Monday, and also called for the council to create a fund to allow residents to celebrate the monarch’s 90th birthday.
His motion found a seconder in party colleague Councillor Nigel Kells but concerns were expressed from across the chamber over the renaming of one of Antrim’s main arterial routes.
Councillor Drew Ritchie said he had concerns over the lack of consultation on the proposal to change the name of Stiles Way and described the motion as a “political stunt”.
“I count myself a loyal supporter of the Royal Family,” Cllr. Ritchie said.
He added: “Stiles Way is an arterial route with 10 housing developments; everybody knows where it’s at.
“I think this is silly and would be better for a new road.”
Councillor Neil Kelly said he fully supported the Queen and had attended many functions in her honour including the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
He also voiced concern at the lack of consultation, particularly with councillors in Antrim town, and asked what costs would be placed on ratepayers as a result of the name change.
Cllr. Kelly also pointed out that Antrim Civic Centre’s address was Stiles Way and by changing the name to Queen Elizabeth II, all the council’s corporate information would have to changed on various literature.
He also backed Cllr. Ritchie’s calls for further consultation before making a decision.
Councillor Annemarie Logue said that while the Queen “is not my monarch, I do respect her” but said that the implications of naming Stiles Way after her could heighten tension in the area.
“This is an interface area with Rathenraw and Stiles [estates]” she added.
Cllr. Logue also she had issues with the allocation of funding for street parties, given cuts in funding to other community projects, and suggested council look at alternative funding sources.
Councillor John Scott highlighted that there were households on Stiles Way, who had Stiles Way as part of their address, and said they would need to be consulted.
Councillor Paul Michael said his position on the Royal Family was well known but said further consultation was needed.
Councillor Mark Cosgrove also called for further consultation and asked Cllr. Brett to amend his motion to allow a short period of consultation on the issue on the implications of the name change.
Cllr. Brett said he was happy to amend the motion on that basis, while maintaining the call for funding for celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Councillor Henry Cushinan asked that an Equality Impact Assessment be carried out regarding the funding.
Cllr. Brett’s amended motion was carried with 27 votes in favour, three votes against (Cllrs. Logue, Cushinan and Michael Goodman).
There were abstentions from Cllrs. Webb, Campbell and Blair, and Lynch, McClelland, Duffin and Burns.