Would a Stratford street by any other name sound as sweet?

The decision is in. Stratford's new streets will be called Midsummer Avenue, Bianca Crescent, Othello Place and Macbeth Place.

Stratford District Councillors last week decided on the names of the four new streets being created in the new subdivision.

Councillors were given a range of options for the names, taken from suggestions received during the Name Thy Street competition which ran in November last year.


The competition asked people to give name suggestions with a Shakespearean affiliation for the new subdivision streets.

Councillors had to decide on the four names, as well as if they were to be streets, crescents, avenues or other designations.

The report gave Macbeth, Midsummer, Bianca and Benvolio as the favourite options from the competition, with Othello, Ophelia, Shylock and Viola suggested as options for one or more of the first four.

Councillors could also choose any other names not in the suggestions.

An online Stratford Press poll drew hundreds of votes, with Midsummer the clear favourite with 26 per cent of the vote, followed by Othello (19 per cent), Macbeth (18 per cent) and Ophelia (11 per cent). Benvolio received 0.7 per cent of the votes while Bianca received 0.5 per cent of the votes.

Mayor Neil Volzke told the council that there was a clear interest in naming the streets, saying there had been interest from the community throughout, while the online poll showed people were engaged.

Councillor Webby said the process had been exciting to be part of.

"The interest from the Stratford Community has been huge. I think it's great. People are interested in this new fabulous subdivision."

Gloria said each street name suggested in the report had been "carefully thought out".

"Street A as Benvolio street as it is obviously a street that may eventually carry on. Street B as Bianca Crescent as that street is a shape of a crescent. Street C as Midsummer Way, to be called Way because in the future it may be developed into another subdivision. Street D as Macbeth Place as it could be sprouted out, They sound good don't they?"

Mayor Volzke said in making the decision, councillors needed to consider criteria such as familiarity, the ability to say, spell and the significance in Shakespeare's work.

Deputy mayor Alan Jamieson said he felt the names which received the most nominations in the original competition should be in the top four.

"I'm quite happy with Benvolio and Othello but the next highest names suggested were Globe and Henley. And for no other reason I think they should be incorporated."

Councillor Boyde spoke in support of the four names suggested in the report as option one.

"The meanings stand out very strongly. There was a lot of discussion in our workshops. I support option one as we 've work shopped it and I support the motion as it is."

Councillor Dalziel said he preferred the name Viola over Macbeth.

"Macbeth was a serial murderer, Viola was only a cross dresser."

Councillor Kelly said Othello and Ophelia were beautiful names.

"Othello and Ophelia are beautiful names and I thought they should have been at the top of the list. Benvolio is going to be very hard to say. I would put that at the bottom."

Mayor Volzke says Benvolio rated the worst out of the eight names.

"Midsummer polled the highest. I'm happy to test the water and see if there is any support in changing Benvolio to Othello now."

Councillor Webby supported the name Benvolio.

"Benvolio is a very popular name. He is in Romeo and Juliet which is very strongly represented here in Stratford, not only by the Glockenspiel but by several streets. Benvolio was Romeo's cousin.

"Othello is a name of a play and a character. The character in the play was at war - he was a coloured man who turned out to be very violent."

Councillors voted on replacing Benvolio with Othello and a division was called.
With the motion carried six to four, with Councillor Boyde, Councillor Erwood, Councillor Webby and Councillor Dalziel voting against the change.

Councillor Webby pointed out as Benvolio had been the name of the main street, and said she didn't think Othello suited it.

"I think Othello Street as the main street is ridiculous. I suggest Midsummer Way would be a better, more positive and more user friendly name for street A rather than Othello.

Midsummer Avenue is to be street A, Bianca crescent for street B, Othello Place for street C and street D to be Macbeth Place.

A division was called with the only objector being deputy mayor Alan Jamieson.