THE plan to name a city council ward Bannister after the athletics legend Sir Roger has been dropped.

Craig Simmons, Green group leader, had earlier suggested using the name for the ward which includes the Iffley Road Sports Complex, where Sir Roger broke the four-minute mile in May 1954.

But Mr Simmons said he received ‘hate mail’ over the proposal from some angry residents.

The complex is currently in his St Mary’s ward – but under proposals unveiled earlier this year, it could have moved into the St Clement’s ward.  

A final round of consultation on ward changes run by the Local Government Boundary Commission ends next Tuesday.

Mr Simmons said, with his party’s plans seemingly set to be adopted, he was happy to surrender the controversial name change suggestion. 

He said: “What we are suggesting is what the Boundary Commission agreed. It’s not particularly drastic. It’s just blowing them up a bit.”

He claimed Labour’s alternative plans were akin to ‘drawing lines through the wards’.

The commission took the unusual step to amend its draft scheme after asking for opinions on plans and reopened a consultation on November 6.

All 150 people who wrote to it between June and August to give their opinions said they did not support the changes.

Some said they were opposed to the name change of St Clement’s ward in favour of Bannister; others did not like plans to place a boundary in the Florence Park area between Cowley and Temple Cowley. Others were unhappy about proposals for new Bartlemas, Donnington and St Clement’s wards.

Taking on board those opinions, the commission then drew up plans which Mr Simmons said was closer to what the Green Party had proposed – and opposed by Labour councillors.

The commission has redrawn boundaries in the triangle of St Clement’s, Cowley Road and Iffley Road, which has shifted changes in the proposed wards of Rose Hill, Cowley, Temple Cowley and Littlemore.

It has also moved Iffley Village from the Rose Hill ward into the proposed new Donnington ward.

And it has amended the boundary between the Cowley and Temple Cowley wards. That was to ‘take into account comments about the splitting up of streets that consider themselves part of the Florence Park area’.

But a cross-party working group, of which Mr Simmons was a member, said it has been ‘unable to endorse the commission’s current proposals’.

It says the ‘whole redesign’ of the St Clement’s, St Mary’s and Donnington and Iffley wards would be ‘unacceptable’ because ‘there are no links between Iffley and the rest of its new ward’.

It said: “Iffley has been linked with Rose Hill electorally for many decades and, over that time, many links have been developed between the two areas.”

The city council’s executive board will be asked to back changes by the cross-party working group and oppose the Local Government Boundary Commission’s suggestions at a meeting tonight.