Anti-smoking campaigners have branded a council’s decision to name a road after the ‘Navy Player’s Cut’ cigarette brand as ‘morally unacceptable’.
Bristol City Council has approved plans to rename the road on a new 70-home housing complex which sits on the remains of an Imperial Group tobacco factory.
Officials chose the name “Navy Cut Road,” out of a choice of four, to celebrate the city’s industrial past where the factory employed about 25,000 workers in the 1970s.
However, the Mayor’s Office is now reviewing the name following a backlash from cancer charities who claim it undermines public health messages.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, told the BBC that “although the name may be legal”, it is still “morally unacceptable”.
Cancer research: ‘Not the most helpful message’
While they understand “that councils often tend to acknowledge local heritage when naming roads”, Cancer Research told the BBC that “celebrating a tobacco brand in this way is not the most helpful message to give especially to children and young people”.
Richard Eddy, a local Tory councilor who overturned a previous decision to name the street Crox View, after nearby Crox Bottom Woodland, said changing the name risked “airbrushing” the city’s history and its ties to slavery.
He said: “No one is proposing that we should suddenly bring back slavery or any other [similar] activity
“But the reality is, a significant amount of Bristol’s origins came from tobacco manufacturing, trade, we even had a share in the slave trade and it doesn’t mean you airbrush history. You remember history, black, white and grey.
“We’re not actually a computer [politically correct] modern city, we are gray. We have good things, bad things, we are a mixed economy and to be honest you have to reflect that reality of course.”