Councillors in Horncastle have branded the ongoing delays in rolling out a new digital CCTV system as ‘a disgrace’.
At their monthly meeting last week, councillors heard police had tried to utilise CCTV coverage to identify offenders who smashed a window at Cooplands on Christmas Eve.
However, town clerk Amanda Bushell said police had told her an old-style analogue camera covering that particular area of the Market Place was not working.
Horncastle is a member of the ‘Seven Town Partnership’ for CCTV coverage - a scheme administered by East Lindsey District Council.
However, it is apparently the only one of the towns still waiting for digital cameras, after a delay of more than 18 months.
Town councillor John Lecher, one of Horncastle’s representatives on the partnership, said he understood work on the new cameras - which offer much improved images - could start next month, after contractors finish installing equipment in Louth.
Regarding a start date, Mayor Coun Brian Burbidge said he would ‘believe it when I see it’.
He added: “All the way through this, we have expressed our disgust - to the point of even withholding payment, or not paying at all.
“Still, we have no firm date. It’s a disgrace.”
Coun Lechler said the town council should write to ELDC, expressing their ’disappointment and frustration’,
Coun Matthew Wilkinson asked if any of the analogue cameras were still working.
Mrs Bushell said she had asked ELDC that very question and was told they were continually looking for ‘spares’ to ensure as many cameras as possible worked.
She reminded councillors that the next invoice for the cost of the system was due next month.
Coun Wilkinson replied: “We are paying for something we are not getting.”
Councillors agreed to write to ELDC about the delays, and decided to invite the relevant district council officer - and portfolio holder - to their next meeting in February.
Mrs Bushell told last week’s meeting there could still be delays, because ELDC had to apply to the County Council for permits to allow work to start.
She said there had been problems fitting cameras in Louth town centre because pavements could not be closed.
There have been several previous complaints about the cameras.
ELDC’s Public Protection Service Manager, Jon Challen, said: “Infrastructure works have started in preparation for upgrade works to the CCTV cameras in Horncastle.
“Whilst this takes place, we’re endeavouring to provide the best possible coverage for the town.
“Unfortunately, the works required will lead to periods of disruption, which is inevitable with a refurbishment of this size and nature.”