Sign spelling errors cost councils

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Councils have forked out hundreds of pounds fixing street signs because of spelling and punctuation mistakes and missing information

At least 14 councils said they had to foot the bill because of the errors by staff since January 2003.

Westminster City Council said five signs had misplaced or missing apostrophes and had to be changed, costing around 1,185, and Luton Borough Council said two spelling corrections cost 118.

Brighton and Hove City Council, Exeter City Council, Dover District Council and Oxford City Council also said they had to fork out to correct inaccurate street signs.

Other councils said they did not collect the data or claimed the request exceeded time and cost limits under freedom of information law.

Westminster City Council said they were not aware of any street signs being replaced because of bad punctuation since January 2003 but that five signs would be corrected because of errors.

The signs are Bishops Bridge Road, which should be Bishop's Bridge Road; Lord Hill's Bridge, which should be Lord Hills Bridge; Kensington Garden Square, which should be Kensington Gardens Square; Princes Square, which should be Prince's Square; and Kings Scholars Passage, which should be King's Scholars' Passage.

Westminster City Council said: "The spelling/grammatical errors are as set out above and these have only recently come to light. All five signs were put up over 10 years ago and we do not have a record of the exact date."

Canterbury City Council said it paid 279.50 in October 2008 to correct two plates which had the words Sherins Walk instead of Sherrins Alley.

"Since August 2005 the city council has had to renew one set of nameplates due to a spelling error: Sherrins Alley was a previously unrecorded but a well-known local footpath from Joy Lane to the railway line, Whitstable.

"The footpath was registered and signed following requests from several local residents and the Whitstable Society. This was a human error made by CCC staff."

Brighton and Hove City Council said in July last year a wall sign for St James's Street in Kemp Town was erected without the apostrophe, costing 165.29 to fix.

Luton Borough Council said: "The first error was Argyll Avenue which was spelt as Argyle Avenue, the second error was Cowdray Close which was spelt on the order as Cowray Close."

Oxford City Council said a street nameplate had to be replaced in February last year when a Kenilworth Road sign was made instead of one for Kenilworth Avenue. This cost 126.00, excluding VAT, to replace.

In 2008 Exeter City Council said a fingerpost sign read United Reform Church instead of United Reformed Church in Fore Street, Heavitree. A street nameplate also had a mistake on it. The council said it did not have a record of the cost for the corrections.

Two new street nameplates cost Dover District Council around 100 in July 2005. The council said: "It was in respect of Wilcox Close, Aylesham. The error was that a nameplate had been ordered with a double 'l', so the error was that of the district council."

Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire said the name Limetree Close in Grove was missed off two signs, costing 124 to fix.

Last month a number of councils in Scotland admitted they had corrected mistakes on signs.

Glasgow City Council said five road signs for the Crowne Plaza hotel had to be corrected, costing around 300.

Here are some other mistakes made on street signs by councils around the country, released after a freedom of information request.

:: Ashford Borough Council: Replaced two signs since April 2005 as a result of spelling mistakes at a total cost of 204.74.

:: Bournemouth Borough Council: A sign was altered at a cost of 20 because the apostrophe in "children's" was initially put in the wrong place.

:: Broadland District Council, Norwich: A misspelt nameplate was amended at a cost of 31.65.

:: Cotswold District Council: Two signs with mistakes replaced at a total cost of 110.

:: Derby City Council: Brown tourism sign corrected from Gallerys to Galleries at a cost of around 20.

:: Leicester City Council: One sign replaced because of a spelling mistake at a cost of less than 100.

Spotted any spelling errors on signs in Lancashire? E-mail Ben Robinson or call 01772 838103.