A pub in Scotland has been given permission to change its name over fears it could be considered racist.
Greene King, the owners of the 350-year-old pub named The Black Bitch in West Lothian, Scotland, will rename the pub to The Willow Tree after having to approach the government for help following the West Lothian council deferring a decision on the matter.
There are no grounds to refuse plans to change the name of the pub.
However, the name change has been met with strong opposition as more than 11,000 people from the local community signed a petition to put a stop to it.
Linlithgow has under 13,000 residents, meaning the pub's historic name clearly means a lot to the town.
The name of the pub originates from a local legend about a black dog, which is featured on the town’s heraldic crest and inspired a statue in the town’s centre. According to the legend, the dog brought food to its starving owner.
In a previous statement to LADbible regarding the name change, a West Lothian Council spokesperson said: "At a meeting of the Development Management Committee in July, the committee voted to continue the two applications and requested that officers sought further information from Historic Environment Scotland regarding the listing of the building.”
The Scottish pub has had two previous names – The Western Tavern and Robert Braes Wines and Spirits.
Government reporter Elspeth Cook explained there are no grounds to refuse plans to change the name of the pub. “I have carefully considered the submissions from members of the public and local community groups regarding the story of the black bitch (depicted as a species of hound) and its importance to the history and identity of Linlithgow,” she said, as reported by the Scottish Daily Express.
The West Lothian History and Amenity Society explained that the term has been associated with the town for over 700 years and locals proudly call themselves 'Black Bitches'.
The group shared: "The term 'Black Bitch' has been associated with the town for over 700 years, natives of Linlithgow are proud to be known as 'Black Bitches'; it is a term of affection with no negative connotations.
"The term describes a female canine, rightly called a bitch which is black in colour – nothing offensive, no misogyny involved. Greene King have jumped to the wrong conclusions and read something into the name which does not exist.’
The Linlithgow Civic Trust has said there is 'nothing racist' about The Black Bitch and the name should not be changed in a statement shared earlier this year.
It read: "It accurately describes a female canine with a black coat.
"We note that Greene appear to have no plans to change the names of their public houses called The Black Horse or The Black Bull."
LADbible has contacted Greene King for further comment.
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