A MOVE to change Abingdon’s name back to Abingdon-on-Thames has moved a significant step closer but the public will get their say.

The Tory town council has approved the plan despite it being labelled “pretentious” by a former mayor.

The council rejected a proposal to consult the public, but yesterday Vale of White Horse District Council – which needs to give it final approval – said it would put the scheme out for people to debate.

Already yesterday an Abingdon sign at Abingdon Bridge had -on-Thames added to it in marker pen by an unknown tagger.

Town Mayor Mike Badcock, who proposed restoring the -on-Thames moniker dropped in 1974, said: “I believe Abingdon deserves this name.

“It the jewel in the Crown on the River Thames.”

But speaking against the plans on Wednesday Liberal Democrat member Pat Lonergan, who was mayor in 2008 and 2009, said the town ran the risk of looking silly.

He said: “We don’t need to qualify the name of Abingdon. To me it’s pretentious.”

A decision to change the name of the Abingdon parish could be made by the district council as early as February. Council chief executive David Buckle said the public would be consulted first.

Abingdon Town Football Club chairman Tom Larman said the club would change its name too if the plans went through, adding: “We would be proud. It is prestigious.”