Haringey Council says cost of Black Boy Lane name change ‘highly unlikely to exceed £100,000’

27 January 2023
What was claimed

It has cost Haringey Council £186,000 to rename Black Boy Lane as La Rose Lane.

Our verdict

The council says £186,000 is an old upper estimate for the potential cost and it is now unlikely to spend more than £100,000, though the final figure will depend on how many residents take up the offer of a £300 inconvenience payment.

“Fury as council spends £180,000 renaming Black Boy Lane in north London 'La Rose Lane' in aftermath of BLM protests due to 'racial connotations'”

“Black Boy Lane renamed because it’s ‘racist’ at cost of ‘£186k’ but new road signs still bear the offensive name”

A street in south Tottenham, London, which was formerly known as “Black Boy Lane” has been renamed “La Rose Lane” due to concerns about the old name’s “racist connotations”. Over the last few days, we’ve seen varying claims about exactly how much the council has spent or will spend on renaming the road.

MailOnline reported the council is spending £180,000, LBC said it was reportedly £186,000 and some have claimed it cost £189,000. 

The local council has now said the cost is unlikely to exceed £100,000. 

MailOnline changed its headline to “Fury as council spends '£100,000'”, and updated its article with a note explaining the changes, after Full Fact contacted it for comment.

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Updated costs

The figures which have been widely circulated appear to have originated from a 2021 Haringey Council document which estimated the costs would come to £186,000.

However, Haringey Council told Full Fact that this number was a two-year-old upper estimate of the total cost that could be required, and that actually, it was now highly unlikely to exceed £100,000.

Councillor Peray Ahmet said: “I want to be clear that this [more than £180,000] figure was an upper estimate of the total cost that could be required two years ago. In reality the cost has been significantly lower than this.

“The vast majority of the funds that have been set aside for this project is for the voluntary payments of £300 per household which we are making to residents of La Rose Lane in recognition of the inconvenience that the name change may cause. The final cost will depend on how many residents opt to take up this offer, but is highly unlikely to exceed £100,000.”

The original 2021 estimate was made up of the following costs:

  • £75,000 for “resident/organisation payment of £300 per household/organisation for 183 registered property addresses on Black Boy Lane, with contingency up to 250”
  • £50,000 for “support and administration officer equivalent FTE [full-time equivalent] grade PO1 (TBC), assuming top of grade including on-costs for maximum 1 year, figure provided is estimated maximum” 
  • £50,000 for “legal advice / 1 to 1 support to residents / organisations for their particular circumstances”
  • £5,000 for “letters and postage”
  • £5,000 for “replacing x4 street name plates, assume double cost for ‘formerly Black Boy Lane’ removal also £600 x 4 x2 rounded up”
  • £1,000 for “bus stop changes (Transport for London) £500 x2 bus stops”

We don’t have a breakdown of what costs are now expected to be, so don’t know which of these costs are still likely to be incurred, other than the inconvenience payments which will still be offered.

Where did the claim come from?

The MailOnline article (since amended) previously said “heritage campaigners, Save Our Statues, alleged that the name change has cost Haringey Council £180,000 of public money” and said it had approached Haringey Council about the alleged cost of the renaming.

The BBC also credited Save Our Statues with the figure, saying: “According to campaign group Save Our Statues, the new sign cost the council about £186,000. It declined to comment on whether this figure was accurate.”

Save Our Statues did tweet on 23 January about the name change, saying: “Thank goodness @SadiqKhan and @haringeycouncil are there with £180,000 of public money to step in”.

However, the account owner told Full Fact his tweet had only been quoting a figure reported in the Daily Mail from March 2021.

MailOnline did use the £186,000 figure in March 2021, around the time it was produced by Haringey Council.

Meanwhile LBC published an article on 23 January 2023 with the headline “Black Boy Lane renamed because it’s ‘racist’ at cost of ‘£186k’ but new road signs still bear the offensive name”. Later in the article it said “the move caused a backlash among some locals after it was reported that the change in names had cost taxpayers £186,000” but did not name a source. We approached LBC for comment.  

However, it also published an article using the figure in October 2021, which correctly sourced the figure to “documents produced for Haringey Council earlier this year”.

Journalist Emily Carver tweeted asking if the name change was a “good use of £189,000”, a figure since repeated on Facebook, but Ms Carver told Full Fact the figure was just a typo and she meant to write £186,000.

We took a stand for good information.

As detailed in our fact check, MailOnline amended its article and added a footnote. 

LBC also amended its article. 

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