A pub chain will not need planning permission to change the name of the historic Black Bitch pub in Linlithgow, West Lothian Council confirmed.
Greene King confirmed plans to rename the Black Bitch as the Black Hound as a more “inclusive” title saying the move is part of its commitment to being an “anti-racist organisation”.
But hundreds of locals had signed a petition demanding the pub keep its original name, which has long been a nickname for local townsfolk and symbolises a well-known local legend dating back to at least the 17th century.
One resident said: “I’m a ‘Black Bitch’ and proud to be one.”
The Black Bitch name is associated with the town’s coat of arms, which portrays the legend of a greyhound who saved his master when he was sentenced to starve to death on an island in Linlithgow loch.
Greene King said it worked with a number of groups and organisations before making its decision and undertook independent research, which revealed many customers would no longer feel comfortable visiting the pub under its current name.
Reports on Wednesday suggested a planning application is now set to be submitted to the local council to physically change the name written on the pub sign.
But an online petition, called Stop the Black Bitch Pub Name Change, had gathered more than 800 signatures on Wednesday.
West Lothian Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that planning consent is not required to change a name and the council had no view on the name change of a private venue.
A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We have not received any applications and it is unlikely that advertisement or listed building consents would be required to change the name of a private venue.
“The council as planning authority does not have a remit in determining the suitability of name changes.”
By local democracy reporter Stuart Sommerville