What's in a name?

William Shakespeare might not have been too particular about roses but members of the Brighton Society believe road sign spelling is sacrosanct.

The group, which aims to “conserve and improve” the amenities of Brighton and Hove, launched an online petition to rename a street in Brighton’s historic North Laine.

Members said that Bond Street Laine should be spelt ‘Lane’ citing the 1989 Oxford English Dictionary definition of the words.

Committee member Delia Ives said: “A spelling mistake should not be on a public sign.”

The dictionary states that Laine refers to “certain tracts of arable land at the foot of the Sussex Downs”. But lane is “a narrow way between hedges or banks, a narrow road or street between houses or walls, a bye-way”.

“These are two completely different things,” said Mrs Ives.

“We feel strongly because it is incorrect.”

The Brighton Society launched an e-petition on the Brighton and Hove City Council website which received the required 50 signatures last month.

The council accepted the request and has put the issue to the public by displaying a notice in the street. If no-one objects by March 21 then the name will be changed and the sign replaced. This will cost £250.

But in the meantime a visual vigilante has put a white label over the offending letter i.

Lizzie Deane, ward councillor for St Peter’s and North Laine, said: “Residents are very proud of the area they live in and, as laine is an old Sussex word for field, it has a strongly historical context.

“It is not a term that describes a street, or lane even, so using it in this way is neither historically nor grammatical accurate."

Bond Street Laine has been public highway since December 1983 and was named by the developer.

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