UK road ‘Darkie Lane’ to be renamed after ‘do-gooder’ tourist takes offence

Furious residents have slammed a Dorset council's decision to rename a road called "Darkie Lane" after a single tourist complained about the street.

The road was given the name around 70 years ago and was allocated to the street because its lined elm trees and hedgerows made the road appear dark and shady.

But Swanage Town Council has agreed to change the name after receiving a letter from a confused family who visited the coastal town on holiday this summer.

They pointed out the road's racist connotations and said it could "very easily cause offence to others given our national history," reports Metro.

In response, the Dorset Council has voted to rename the street to Dark Lane – which only one member opposed.

Councillor Mike Whitwam said: "I have many close black friends and the name is not in the slightest bit prejudicial.

"I felt the decision was made purely to satisfy political correctness, which is destroying culture in this country.

"It has been called Darkie Lane for many years and nobody has taken offence except this one do-gooder who has complained to the council."

The decision has caused an uproar from some residents who accused the town council of caving in to "woke" tourists.

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A tourist to the town, Jackie Hayes, commented: "To complain about a street name is unfair and unreasonable. It has been named because of the dark road – no other reason.

"It is history, just like the statues the woke brigade keep insisting that we tear down, and it should remain so."

Peter Wharf, a cabinet member on Dorset Council sided with the complaint and said that street names should "not cause offence or be considered discriminatory".

He went on to say that street names should be "inclusive given the diversity of our community and visitor populations".

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In a letter sent to town councillors following the complaint, he said: "The historic context for the name is purportedly innocent, relating to the lane being dark and shaded – though this does not avoid the potential for causing offence, particularly for visitors to the area who will likely be unaware of this context."

Mike Bonfield, chair of the planning committee at Swanage Town Council, highlighted that historical documents showed the street used to be called Dark Lane.

But despite its origins, the street is marked as Darkie Lane on both Google Maps and Sat Navs – which means it is the first name that visitors would see.

He commented: "It is not a name change – we are taking it back to its original name. It was found that in a street directory from 1934, the road was called Dark Lane.

"Over time it evolved to Darkie Lane, which is why we supported the decision to change it.

"Without those historical documents, I would not have supported the change because it is important that we protect our history."

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A Dorset Council spokeswoman acknowledged the complaint they received from the offended family.

She said: "In response, we looked into the historical records of the naming of this road, which was originally called Dark Lane due to its shaded location, and asked Swanage Town Councillors for their views.

"This issue was discussed at the Swanage Town Council planning committee meeting on Monday 4 October.

"We are awaiting a formal response from Swanage Town Council following their discussion.

"We will also consult with the residents living on this road to seek their views on the road naming prior to a final decision being made."

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