Councils are in the dark over plans for streetlights

Horncastle Mayor Councillor Brian Burbidge. EMN-190124-105356001
Horncastle Mayor Councillor Brian Burbidge. EMN-190124-105356001

Horncastle’s Mayor, Councillor Brian Burbidge is leading calls for more information before town and parish councils can decide whether to pay for streetlights to be switched back on.

There were widespread complaints more than 18 months ago when the County Council switched off, or partially switched off, lights across Lincolnshire as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Residents in Horncastle said they did not feel safe at night and there were claims of a rise in crime, despite denials from police and the County Council.

Now, the County Council has indicated it is prepared to consider switching lights back on - but it could cost £300 per light.

In Horncastle, it is understood around 300 lights could be involved in the process.

If the town council asked for all those lights to be put back into use, it could be left with a bill of around £100,000.

That is more than half of its overall budget for all services in the next financial year which has already led to a 22% increase in its share of council tax bills.

Coun Burbidge told the News: “There is not enough information regarding what the county council is suggesting.

“The last communication we had from LCC was they were producing a draft protocol to present to town and parish councils .

“With this in mind, a number of questions need to be asked - is this (£300) a one off payment or an annual payment? Does it include regular inspection and repair?

“Without the answer to these questions - and others - it is not feasible at this stage to make a comment regarding the use of precept monies.”

The county council says its proposals will allow communities to reverse part night lighting for the complete length of any named street.

LCC councillors approved the policy at a meeting earlier this month.

According to LCC, it is a six year process carrying out routine maintenance on all of the street lights across Lincolnshire.

Town and County Councils can opt to pay £150 per light - but only if streetlights in their area are being inspected at the relevant time.

If not, then councils must pay the ‘full’ £300.