Overnight streetlights bid will not collapse in Colchester and Tendring despite Harlow Council rejection, councillors claim

Last night Tim Young, leader of the Colchester Labour group, said: We expect Councillor Bass to res

Last night Tim Young, leader of the Colchester Labour group, said: We expect Councillor Bass to respect the wishes of Colchester Borough Council and the residents and turn the lights back on.

Leading councillors last night insisted a bid to switch streetlights back on overnight across north-east Essex has not been derailed after similar plans submitted by Harlow Council were dismissed.

Essex County Council transport chief Rodney Bass yesterday branded Harlow Council’s proposal to pay £121,000 to keep streetlights on all night as “bizarre”.

It came just a day after Colchester councillors started negotiations with the county council to pay up to £185,000 to have the lights kept on across the borough.

In November 2013, the county council switched off seven in 10 streetlights between midnight and 5am in the borough to save £130,000 and help the environment.

In Tendring, the lights are turned off between midnight and 5am, except in town centres and at dangerous road junctions.


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The move has sparked fears of an increase in crime and road accidents.

Last night Tim Young, leader of the Colchester Labour group, said: “We expect Councillor Bass to respect the wishes of Colchester Borough Council and the residents and turn the lights back on.

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“Essex County Council is responsible for highways and street lighting and took the decision to switch the lights off from midnight to 5am.

“If the decision is not taken to switch the lights back on we will go above his head and to the leader of Essex County Council, councillor David Finch.

“The borough and district council is putting the money in, so there’s no reason why it should not happen.”

Ivan Henderson, deputy leader of the Labour group on Essex County Council and councillor for Harwich, said there was “overwhelming support” – more than 10,000 petition signatures – to switch the lights back on.

He added: “How can you have a policy that protects banks in the town centre, as the lights are left on there overnight, and not people’s possessions?”

A separate statement issued by Essex County Council’s Labour Group said Mr Bass had “politicised what is a crucial issue for many residents across the county”.

It said: “The decision is a real put down for residents who have raised genuine concerns over the fear of crime in their neighbourhood and it is a blow to the democratic decisions made not just by Harlow Council in recent weeks, but also by Colchester Council, Tendering Council and Brentwood Council who have all passed measures at their budget meetings to look at reversing this disastrous policy.

“The Tories like to talk localism, but when it comes to local decisions made in the interest of local people, they prefer to dictate policy down and ignore the concerns that many people have made since the introduction of part night lighting in Essex.”

In his letter, Conservative Mr Bass said: “While we understand you specifically addressed in your budget debate this somewhat bizarre financial proposal, we are sorry you have been unable to offer any substantive justification for this arrangement other than that it is the opinion of your ruling Labour Group.”

He claimed Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner had failed to produce any evidence that part-night lighting had caused an increase in crime or road traffic accidents.

He added: “Accordingly, Essex County Council is not willing to even agree to the principle of your proposal at this particular time.”

He also highlighted plans to “look more actively” at LED lighting in the next year.

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