A NEW estate in Sutton Courtenay is to be named after the Prime Minister who led the nation into the First World War, despite a one-woman protest against it.

Developers Redrow Homes plans to build 64 new homes off Milton Road and intends to name the area after Herbert Asquith, who was Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916.

Herbert Henry Asquith, who died in 1928, had a home in Sutton Courtenay called The Wharf and is buried at All Saints’ Church in the village.

But Pauline Wilson, who lives in Milton Road, said it was not appropriate to name the new estate after the former Prime Minister, who she described as “deeply controversial”.

Dr Wilson, a retired university lecturer in development studies, said she would prefer to see the estate called Skylark Fields but has not yet informed developers.

She added: “It is with sadness I have discovered that the parish council has decided to name a new housing estate Asquith Park, after Herbert Asquith.

“I might be the only official objector but I do think he is a controversial figure.

“Numerous historians have demonstrated that he ‘sleepwalked’ the nation into disaster and so mismanaged the conduct of the war, including culpability, some say, for the high casualty rates on the Somme, that he was removed by a political coup.”

Dr Wilson addressed parish councillors last Tuesday.

But clerk to the council Linda Martin said naming of the estate after Asquith would go ahead.

She added: “We had an invitation from the Vale to come up with three or four names for the area and we suggested Asquith Avenue, Westbrook, and Ginge Way.

“Then we received a reply to say that the new development would be called Asquith Park.

“The resident’s concerns have been passed to the Vale but Redrow does not feel there is enough resistance for them to make a change.”

Vale of White Horse District Council told the parish council last month: “The district council is not changing the name of Asquith Park.

“As Redrow does not feel there is enough resistance to the name for them to accept a change, and as I have not received an alternative name suggestion from the resident to put forward to the parish council, I believe the matter is now closed.”

Planning permission for the new estate was approved by Vale of White Horse District Council in May.

Asquith’s life

Herbert Henry Asquith was born in Yorkshire in 1852. 

He won a classical scholarship to Balliol College in 1869 and went on to become PM in 1908.

As leader of the Liberal government, Asquith took the country to war in August 1914. 

A series of crises in 1916 led to his downfall.

He became a peer, Earl of Oxford and Asquith, in 1926.

Asquith died at his home in Sutton Courtenay in 1928.

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