Communities could be left in the dark by ‘switch off’

One of the footpath lights near the swimming pool EMN-160802-120449001
One of the footpath lights near the swimming pool EMN-160802-120449001

Local councillors are often accused of being in the dark...and that could be the case in a number of towns and villages in East Lindsey.

The cash-strapped district council is asking town and parish councils to take on responsibility for footpath lights in their communities.

It is part of controversial proposals by East Lindsey to save around £6million over the next four years.

However, councillors in Horncastle and Woodhall Spa have asked for more details about the financial costs.

They are worried that if any lamp posts are knocked down and damaged, they could be left with a hefty bill for repair or complete replacement,

And councillors in one Wolds village - Belchford - have already voted to reject ELDC’s offer and have ‘switched off’ the solitary footpath light in their community.

They say they will re-consider, if residents object.

In Horncastle, two of the lights are situated on the town’s Boston Industrial Estate and another six are in the area around the swimming pool complex.

The town council believes the cost of taking control of the lights could be around £400.

Councillors say they are especially concerned about the lights near the swimming pool because the paths are particularly well-used at night. However, they have asked whether companies on the industrial estate could take some of the financial responsibility for the other lights.

Town clerk Gillian Mauger said: “We want to know exactly what is involved and what we would be responsible for. Is it just maintaining the lights or would we have to replace them if anything went wrong?”

It is a similar story in Woodhall Spa. Parish council chairman David Clarke said they needed more details from ELDC before making a financial commitment.

Councillors agreed to visit the location of the under-threat lights in Woodhall to find how frequently footpaths are used.

Coun Graham Keegan questioned whether there would be any legal consequences, if a light was switched off and someone suffered an accident as a result.

Councillors in Woodhall are also contemplating taking charge of Royal Square from ELDC but are reluctant to take charge of the nearby public toilets as part of any deal.