The debate is raging around town – should the new bypass be named after Grantham-born former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher... or not?
Last week’s story in the Journal has had the people of Grantham buzzing with suggestions and the debate has even prompted one man to set up a Twitter account and Facebook page which has already received hundreds of likes and followers. Grantham Town fan Andy Clark would like to see the team’s former player and manager Terry Bly on the name plate when the road is finished.
Now we are giving readers the chance to vote online whether they are for or against the relief road being named after Lady Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister. When they vote, readers can also put forward their suggestions for alternative names.
Many have already been suggested, including Grantham-born TV scriptwriter Eric Chappell, who wrote Rising Damp, and the Dambusters, whose operation to blow up dams in Germany in 1943 was directed from St Vincent’s in the town.
Grantham district councillor Ray Wootten has supported a monument or commemoration in the town to Lady Thatcher and last week suggested the new relief road, to be built between Somerby Hill and Spittlegate Level, is named after her. Work on the road is due to begin in March.
The name for the road will be decided in consultation between the county council, which is building the bypass, Grantham Charter Trustees and Londonthorpe and Harrowby Without Parish Council as the road runs through their parishes.
The Journal will pass on readers’ suggestions when the vote is over.
To register your vote go to tinyurl.com/granthambypass
Mr Clark, who saw Bly play for the Gingerbreads at the old London Road ground near to where he lived, said his first thought was the town’s very own TV writer Eric Chappell, who scripted Rising Damp, but then a friend mentioned Terry Bly.
Mr Clark said: “The reaction has been really positive. Terry was a great servant to the club and stayed in the town after he left it. He is well-liked and it would be fitting for the road to be named after him.”
Mr Clark’s Twitter feed, Terry Bly Way GTown, has attracted the likes of legendary footballer Jimmy Greaves and Sky Sports presenter Clare Tomlinson who have retweeted Andy’s call for the Terry Bly name. Mr Clark’s Facebook page has also attracted hundreds of likes.
Last week, the Journal reported on district councillor Ray Wootten’s idea of calling the bypass Lady Thatcher Way. This week he said he was not surprised by the reaction he got.
Coun Wootten, who lives in Grantham, said: “I am pleased that people are talking about it and have put forward other people’s names as well. That is what it was all about.”
Terry Bly played professional football for Norwich City and Peterborough United and was a prolific goalscorer. He played for Grantham between 1964 and 1970 and then became their manager until 1978.
Labour Group Leader on South Kesteven District Council Charmaine Morgan said: “It was the unanimous view of the Labour Group members that it would be totally wrong to name the road after such a contentious and relatively contemporary character when so many more appropriate names are available to chose from.”
Labour Group members suggested alternatives such as Gravity Way, Apple Way, and Heroes Way to commemorate those from Grantham who fought in the world wars.