Wiltshire Publications

Final push for Westbury road naming petition

A FORMERstudent of Matravers is working hard to complete the petition to have a road named after his headteacher, before it is submitted next month.

Local man Radek Evans has been going door-to-door in the town to try and rack up signatures to have a road named after his late headteacher Nigel Gilhespy. Nigel was the popular headteacher of Matravers for nearly 20 years from 1986 to 2005, before he died in 2006. At the ‘Class of 94’ reunion last year, the petition was started to have one of Westbury’s new roads named Gilhespy Way.

Radek has been continuing to gather signatures ahead of plans to submit the petition at next month’s meeting of the town council’s Highways, Planning & Development Committee.

Radek said, “I’ve been going house-to-house all week and we’re up to a total of 800 signatures, but there’s a long way left to go. For the petition to be taken seriously I need to get 1,200 signatures, but I would love to get over 3,750 to beat January’s parking petition and be the biggest one ever!

“Over 20,000 people went to Matravers during Nigel’s time there, and including their parents there must be plenty more who’d like to sign it. I just can’t find them!

“I chose to join the campaign because Nigel did a lot for me. I have speech and language difficulties and couldn’t talk when I joined the school. Nigel took me in when no-one else wanted me.

“It’s not a huge thing but I think the road naming would be a nice gesture.”

The campaign had considered attempting to give the name to Slag Lane, but the application to rename the road was rejected on historical grounds.

Radek says the petition has been signed by a number of town councillors, but it is cllr Horace Prickett who is at the forefront.

Horace, whose original suggestion of using the name was rejected by the council, has supported the campaign since it began.

Horace, a former teacher at Matravers School said, “The petition is up together and permission has been granted by Nigel’s wife for his name to be used.

“All is ready to run; the delay has been due to no suitable roads being available.  I was offered a very insignificant tiny dead-end in Westbury, but I considered that an insult to Nigel.

“Now of course, we have the new estate on Trowbridge Road with very suitable roads, so are hoping to make progress very shortly.

“I shall be approaching the council with the paperwork in March.”

You can sign the petition before Monday 16th March online at www.bit.ly/1vWMKj6, or in person in Westbury town centre at Davies Hardware, Bath Bakery, Cards Plus, Westbury Heritage Centre,  or Forrester Pet Supplies.