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Apostrophes win street name battle

10 Feb 2014 at 11:14

A "nonsense" decision to ban apostrophes from street signs has been reversed by a local authority.

Cambridge City Council initially said it would remove punctuation from new road names, angering some residents and self-declared defenders of grammar. Some even used marker pens to fill in missing apostrophes.

However, the local authority argued that it was only following national guidelines which said that some punctuation had the potential to confuse emergency services as well as people using Sat Navs and route planners .

Now the leader of Cambridge City Council has confirmed it has taken an "executive decision" and in the future the council "will not be obliged to avoid proper punctuation" when it comes to street names.

Councillor Tim Bick said: "After consulting with my colleague Tim Ward, executive councillor for planning, we decided we must call time on the great apostrophe debate.

"Councillor Ward has taken an executive decision to amend our street naming policy to make clear that for future new street names in Cambridge we will not be obliged to avoid proper punctuation when it is required by the relevant name.

"It is now clear that the original decision made two years ago to ban the apostrophe from street names flew below everyone's radar, amazingly even after public consultation at the time.

"It is a nonsense to deny the English language when applying it to everyday terms describing where people live."

Coun. Bick said it was time the story, which had made national headlines, was "put to bed".

He said: "We rue the day we allowed ourselves to be influenced by a bureaucratic guideline which nobody has been able to defend to us now that it has come under the spotlight."

Copyright Press Association 2014