An end could finally be in sight to East Lindsey’s great CCTV debacle.
Seven market towns - Alford, Chapel St Leonards, Horncastle, Ingoldmells, Louth, Mablethorpe/Sutton on Sea and Skegness - have been waiting to install state-of-the-art digital cameras since March 2016.
Now, it can be revealed BT has finally carried out an upgrade which will allow the cameras to be fitted.
The cameras have cost around half-a-million pounds and are seen as vital in the fight to reduce crime.
However, councillors fear that because of the 21-month delay, guarantees on the cameras might have expired - before they are even in use.
Confirmation that BT had finished the upgrade came from leading East Lindsey district councillor Fiona Martin.
Speaking at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council, Coun Martin said issues between ELDC and BT appeared to have been ‘resolved - to a high degree.’
Coun Martin explained an ELDC Scrutiny Committee had been assured the work had been completed.
She added ELDC hoped contractors could start installing the cameras early in the New Year.
Coun Martin revealed Scrutiny Committee members had expressed concerns about the guarantees.
She said it was unclear whether the guarantees started on the date the cameras were purchased - or from the date they are ‘switched on’.
Coun Martin intimated delays in upgrading Wifi systems in the seven towns had been caused by BT insisting they were only prepared to talk to the initial contractors involved in the digital roll out.
She said the fact East Lindsey’s deputy leader Coun Graham Marsh had not been invited to a recent meeting of the seven towns had not helped.
She admitted ELDC was still waiting for a date when the cameras would be installed.
Horncastle town councillor Angela Birchall suggested the seven towns should refuse to pay any outstanding CCTV bills.
Coun Birchall stressed it was important to check on the guarantees because there were no assurances the cameras would work - potentially leading to expensive repairs.
The seven towns are reliant on outdated analogue cameras which police admit are ‘not fit for purpose.’
ELDC operates the CCTV service in partnership with the seven towns and agreed to invest in the digital cameras in March 2016.
It followed a decision to link up with a system already run by Boston Borough Council.
In August, it was revealed ELDC had written to BT, accusing the communications giants of a ‘totally unacceptable service.’
At the time, BT said the change-over from analogue to digital was ‘very complex’ and apologised for the delay.
According to ELDC, BT charges £56,000-a-year for the analogue system which covers 97 cameras in the seven towns.