Tewkesbury Abbey and River Severn to be dropped from council logo in £10k name change move 'to be more inclusive'

A Gloucestershire council looks set to change its name in a bid to better represent its residents. Tewkesbury Borough Councillors are due to consider plans to rename the authority as North Gloucestershire Borough Council.

The move comes after feedback from residents, councillors and businesses which suggested many people in the borough do not identify with the name Tewkesbury Borough. It is not considered representative of the entire district, and it creates confusion between the town and borough councils, according to those behind the name change plans.

These concerns were also raised by councillors during the development of the new council plan. Officers highlighted that the council’s current logo of which shows Tewkesbury Abbey is outdated and difficult to use on digital assets such as the website and online forms and would need to be updated.

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Officers were asked to explore the impact of changing the council’s name, including the rationale for doing so, the cost, and an appropriate rollout approach. And a report being put before full council tomorrow (May 15) recommends the council be minded to change its name subject to public consultation.

If approved, the council will launch a six-week consultation to allow for stakeholders to submit their representations on the proposal and to give feedback on the proposed logo options before a final decision is taken on any changes. A borough council may change its name at an extraordinary council meeting convened for this purpose only if two thirds of the members voting agree to the change of name.

The authority has set aside £10,000 to cover any costs associated with updating the council’s logo and a name change. Council officers say a phased rollout means that changing physical asset logos will only happen as part of their normal maintenance cycle and so the cost will be covered within their own budgets.

The proposal has so far been met with broad support across the council chamber. Conservative councillor David Gray (Winchcombe) is among those who have welcomed the proposal.

A map of Gloucestershire showing North Gloucestershire Borough Council - the proposed new name for Tewkesbury Borough Council
Tewkesbury Borough Council is considering plans to change its name to North Gloucestershire Borough Council. To the right are three of the four options for the new logo

“Tewkesbury is a funny borough in that it incorporates a lot of different areas,” he said. “Just calling it Tewkesbury doesn’t capture the extent of the borough and the different communities and activities that take place here.”

He said it is important to emphasise the Borough Council otherwise people could get confused with Gloucestershire County Council and South Gloucestershire Council. “The important thing is that we minimise the cost,” he said.

Green Party councillor Cate Cody (Tewkesbury South) said the main thing is the logo needs to change as it does not work digitally. And she is pleased it will not cost much and will help avoid confusion between Tewkesbury Borough Council and Tewkesbury Town Council.

“Because we’re a Borough, we have a mayor. We invite the mayor of Tewkesbury and sometimes they invite the town mayor or the borough mayor when they meant the town - or they won’t expecting two!

"That sort of thing would be a lot better if we had a new name. But the main thing is we have a large and unusually shaped borough. Looking wider to the folks in Churchdown, Brockworth, Winchcombe and Highnam, do they feel connected to their own borough?

Cllr Cody said she was really pleased the name change, if approved, would not cost much as most of the changes will be digital. “Things like signs and bins, they will change as and when they are upgraded anyway," she said.

Tewkesbury Abbey
A map of Gloucestershire showing North Gloucestershire Borough Council - the proposed new name for Tewkesbury Borough Council -Credit:TBC

Other names the council has considered through its exploratory work include Severn Vale Borough Council, Gloucestershire Rural Borough Council and East Cotswolds Borough Council. But they felt these options do not clearly clarify where the borough is, so identity issues would remain.

And each of the alternatives risked excluding other areas which would not address the council’s inclusivity concerns. Also, Gloucestershire Rural and East Cotswolds could be confused with other rural areas of Gloucestershire, they said.

Tewkesbury was an ancient borough, having been granted a charter of incorporation by Queen Elizabeth I in 1575. And the town was reformed in 1836 to become a municipal borough. It was governed by a body called the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Tewkesbury". This was generally known as the corporation or town council.

The modern borough was formed in April, 1974 and covered the whole area of the former Cheltenham Rural District and Tewkesbury Municipal Borough and part of Gloucester Rural District which was split between the districts of the Forest of Dean and Stroud.

The new borough was named Tewkesbury after its main town and it was awarded borough status from its creation, allowing the council to take the name Tewkesbury Borough Council and letting the chair of the council take the title of mayor.

A successor parish was created at the same time covering the area of the former municipal borough of Tewkesbury, with the parish council taking the name Tewkesbury Town Council. If the name change goes ahead it will have no bearing on its namesake consituency of Tewkesbury.

Tewkesbury Borough Council’s leadership has been approached for comment.

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