It is best known for being the home town of Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional character Ali G.
But Staines is to shrug off associations with the comedy creation this weekend by officially renaming itself Staines-upon-Thames.
The Surrey town, which lies nine miles from Heathrow Airport within the London commuter belt, is undergoing the transformation to drive new businesses and money to the area which was once labelled a 'ghost town' by Staines-born indy band Hard-Fi.
But a huge part of the move is to cut ties to Ali G, who put Staines centre stage when Sacha Baron Cohen's 2002 film ‘Ali G Indahouse’ became a cult classic.
'Probably the only reason why most people have heard of Staines is because of Sacha Baron Cohen,' Staines South Councillor Colin Davis told Yahoo! News.
'The real joke of Ali G is that Staines is a very genteel place and he was a gangster. Unfortunately too many folk took it a bit literally. I don’t think Sacha Baron Cohen brought the place to its knees single-handedly but the perception of the place needs to change ... many think of Staines as a bad place.'
Officials at Spelthorne Borough Council backed the idea from local solicitor Alex Tribick who said that adding reference to the Thames would sweep away any negative connotations surrounding the Surrey town. The council also hopes that the change will boost tourism and business
'We are currently looking to capitalise on our asset [the Thames] and this is just part of it,' said Cllr Davis. 'The town has a green, leafy, riverside location. Local businesses are fully behind this change and drove it on as they are confident that it will give them a boost.'
One group who vehemently opposed the plan were officials and fans of Staines Town FC, who adopted Ali G as a unofficial club mascot and affectionately call themselves 'The Massive' in his honour.
The entire Blue Square Bet South division team even dressed up as the Sacha Baron Cohen character during an FA Cup run in 2007 and it is not uncommon to see fans decked out as Ali G on the stands of their home ground, Wheatsheaf Park.
As proposals for the name change were presented to residents, Staines Town FC secretary Steve Parsons blasted the idea as a 'sham'.
'Changing the name exposes the town to ridicule, it turns its back on 1,500 years of history and is not necessary,' he said. 'How about if 500 people wanted to change the name back next year? You could do it, or we could go one better and change it every year.
'That is the reason why people see this as ridiculous, places that change their names are places like Stalingrad,' he added.
Despite this opposition, local residents favoured the plan by a two to one majority.
'I have received more communications in support of the name change than against it,' said Cllr Davis. 'I’m sure there are people who will go to the grave thinking it is a bad idea and the worst thing that ever happened but respectfully I disagree, as do the majority of local residents.'
Celebrations for Sunday’s official name changing include a street party, free boat trips and guided history walks.