Needham Market: Faulty eco street lights coming on too early in town

Streetlights in Gilbert Close, Needham Market.

Streetlights in Gilbert Close, Needham Market. - Credit: Archant

It appeared to be the perfect solution – the lights were timed to come on when it got dark and go off at midnight.

But then the seasons changed.

Thousands of pounds was spent in Needham Market to make the street lights environmentally friendly.

It was the first place in Suffolk to pilot the scheme but in one part of town the bulbs are coming on at 7.30pm when it is very much still light.

Gardener Robin Kett, 61, lives in Gilbert Close a street affected, he said: “I am very happy that they go off at midnight but they are coming on when it’s still bright, it seems like a waste of money.

“I’m in favour of them going off –we have to save money and we have to save the environment to a certain extent.

“The light’s sensors are set too sensitive and when it gets a little bit dusky they come on. If we want to save money they should switch on at 9pm when it gets reasonably dark. Somebody ought to look at it to save money.”

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The light Mr Kett is pictured against is managed by Needham Market Town Council.

Town clerk Kevin Hunter said if anyone has problems with street lighting they should report it to the council.

He said: “Maybe it’s a faulty piece of equipment. Every light was done (made more efficient) which means a street light can be controlled individually. All the lights were replaced saving considerable amount of power.

“We are anticipating that they should not need maintenance for up to 25 years. It’s an investment which will pay back in a few years.”

He said the authority was responsible for about half the town’s 400 street lights. With the other half being the responsibility of Suffolk County Council.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “We have not received any complaints or any indication from our system that there are issues with street lights in the Needham Market area.

“However, we would urge local residents to contact us directly if they have any concerns, and to take note of the reference number of the column on the affected street light wherever possible.”