Wandsworth Council refute claims it ignored Battersea MP’s letter

Wandsworth Council has refuted claims made by Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova that it ignored a letter from her about the renaming of offensive street names.

Speaking to the Standard and BBC, the Labour MP claimed that she wrote to the council last year enquiring if they would be removing controversial statues and street names which had connotations with the slave trade.

Despite emailing at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, she claims that her correspondence was met by no reply.

However, Wandsworth Council have reacted by saying that they did give a full response to her letter.

A council spokesperson said the council responded to de Cordova’s letter on September 25, 2020, stating that a review into offensive statues and street names had already taken place.

Their reply said that they had no knowledge of any controversial names commemorated in artworks, monuments in the borough’s public realm, in land owned, managed or controlled by the council.

In a statement on the Wandsworth Council website, council leader Ravi Govindia said: “Unfortunately the MP appears to have overlooked the reply she was sent and wrongly accused the council and its staff.

“I would urge her now to set the record straight as a matter of urgency.”

The dispute comes after de Cordova called for a luxury housing complex in Wandsworth to change its name due its connotations with slavery.

Plantation Wharf in Battersea also features buildings and streets titled Cotton Row, Trade Tower and Molasses House.

The Labour MP stated that the complex’s name glorifies the abhorrent slavery of African people, and that to have buildings with such names is offensive to people in the area.

She also called on Wandsworth Council to intervene and change its name.

However, the council have made it clear that they are not in a position to change Plantation Wharf’s name as it is on private land.

The name can only be changed at the behest of its owners.

A spokesperson for the council said: “This is a private development in which the buildings were named by the developer around 30 years ago.

“We understand that its current management team has been approached on this issue and has expressed a willingness to look again at the names of the buildings.”

The owners of Plantation Wharf are currently undergoing a consultation process with residents to decide on a potential re-brand.

Featured image credit: Chris McAndrew via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 3.0 license

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