The former leader of Haringey Council has called for a street name that has been linked to racism to be changed urgently.

Joseph Ejiofor said the "offensive" Black Boy Lane in Haringey should be renamed "La Rose Lane" by February after claiming the council’s latest proposals risked pushing a decision "into the deep grass".

In June last year, then Labour leader Cllr Ejiofor announced a review of monument, building, place and street names in the borough to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Boy Lane was singled out as needing "immediate review". 

Cllr Ejiofor, who was ousted as leader in May, told the council's corporate committee he was "very disappointed" with the progress of the review at a meeting last week.

He said: "The name Black Boy Lane itself, it is offensive. A lot of African-heritage people are offended by the street name itself. A number of anti-racists are equally offended.

"The report [submitted to the meeting] seems to subsume the proposal to rename Black Boy Lane in some pretty deep grass, to be quite frank."

Cllr Ejiofor said he wanted the committee to separate the renaming of Black Boy Lane from the wider review of street and place names. He called for the renaming to take effect on February 1.

Enfield Independent: Cllr Joseph EjioforCllr Joseph Ejiofor

Mike Hakata, the council’s deputy leader, defended the plans laid out in the report as the "correct approach".

He said: "Instead of taking an ad hoc approach, we need this strategic approach to really understand where these names come from, who we are celebrating, and what monuments we have for our lives.

"We need that strategic approach, because actually is not as simple as just picking and choosing which ones we like the best or don’t. It actually is about the important historical impact."

The council had proposed, under Cllr Ejiofor's leadership, renaming Black Boy Lane La Rose Lane, in honour of writer John La Rose, in December 2020.

Cllr Hakata said trustees of the George Padmore Institute, which was founded by La Rose, had written to the council saying "the renaming proposed in the way that it has been conceived and been carried out is not one that John himself would have supported and it is not in tune with his vision".

The Labour representative said the council could not override the desires of the custodians of La Rose’s legacy.

However, Cllr Ejiofor said there had been "disagreement among some members of the institute" and that La Rose’s family were "united behind this change".

Labour’s Emine Ibrahim called for the committee to pass a motion to support Cllr Ejiofor’s proposal and "task officers to come back to us on November 23 with the information that will allow us to make an informed decision on the way forward".

Six members of the committee voted in favour, with two abstentions.