Essex County Council bosses have confirmed that the villages of High Easter and Good Easter will be forced to change their names from January 2017 – this announcement comes after ‘record numbers’ of complaints were received in 2015 about the two locations near Chelmsford. According to a source within local government, EU guidance on this issue shows that using a religious term in a place name could offend residents of other faiths, and so top planning officials have decided that the move could potentially save millions in legal costs further down the line.
Dr Malcolm Touchi is an expert in Domicile Perception Law from the University of South Thurrock, and he feels that the move is ‘irritating but necessary.’ He said: ‘The people who live in these two villages are going to be upset, but the fact remains that modern law includes provision for individuals to take action if a place name offends their own religious beliefs. Cadbury’s have already started to remove the word ‘Easter’ from some of their chocolate eggs, and it was only a matter of time before other companies and organisations started to see the potential for expensive and lengthy legal proceedings.’
Connor Wibbly is a spokesperson for the campaign group Equal Equality Now For All, and he admitted to Southend News Network that he is ‘delighted’ with the decision. He said: ‘This is a momentous day in the history of the United Kingdom, and justice is finally being delivered for everyone in Mid-Essex who has had a Christian festival rammed down their throats for too long. There will naturally be plenty of critics, but I have one question to ask them: How many towns in the UK have the word ‘Hannukah’ or ‘Ramadan’ in them? Hardly any is the answer!’
In another late development, Dorset County Council has confirmed that they are watching the ongoing situation with interest regarding the town of Christchurch. According to a local source, having two different religious terms in the name could effectively ‘double’ any potential compensation payouts.