Tendring councillors set aside funding to turn street lights back on

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.

Councillors in Tendring have voted to set aside money to keep the district’s street lights on throughout the hours of darkness.

Under an Essex County Council (ECC) Conservative policy street lights are turned off between midnight and 5am across the county, except in town centres.

At a full meeting of Tendring District Council (TDC) during the annual budget debate the Labour group were set to propose setting aside £160,000 from the authority’s reserves to pay ECC to keep the lights on all night.

In an unexpected move the ruling Tory administration added in to their budget plans to set aside the money – but pledged only to spend it if switching the lights back on was supported by the public in a consultation.

The results of the review will be presented to full council on March 24.

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Ivan Henderson, Labour group leader at TDC, said: “We supported the budget because it was a Labour budget when you looked at all the bits in it. We have been driving these things forward.

“They have sat on the money for these things such as a living wage for two years and at the eleventh hour just before an election they start putting money into things we have always said.

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“Voting for street lights was a cynical move, especially by the four cabinet members who voted against a similar proposal when they were at the ECC budget meeting earlier the same day.

“But cynical or not I would urge everyone who has had any concerns, or been affected by lights being off, to contact the council and make sure their concerns are heard before the review ends.”

TDC leader Mick Page said during the meeting: “This has been a real issue for our residents, both in favour of putting them back on or keeping them off. I have an open mind on this issue.”

Afterwards he added: “We have always said we would carry out a consultation on street lighting and we fully intend to deliver on that promise.

“We have written to local public services such as the police now we need to know what residents think. That’s the right thing to do.”

The TDC budget included a council tax freeze, £500,000 each for businesses as part of Assisted Area Status and put into a Development Growth Fund, as well as £30,000 to ensure all council staff receive a living wage.

The street light review is open until February 23. Email streetlighting@tendringdc.gov.uk with your views.

• ECC approved the proposed budget which includes a council tax freeze, a £1million Innovation Challenge Prize to help it achieve £190m by April 2018, and £272m on roads spending.

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