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Friday, 27 September 2013
CRITICISM: Cllr John Dornan has slammed Essex council’s plans to switch off the street lights in Basildon
A DELAY has been urged in the late-night switching off of many of Basildon’s street lights.
Basildon Tory councillor John Dornan slammed the ‘ill-conceived’ move, claiming it could lead to unsafe streets and have a negative impact across the borough.
Essex County Council announced earlier this month that Basildon’s lampposts would be turned off between midnight and 5am, starting on November 1.
Essex council said the move, which will cost £6.6million to implement across the county, will save cash.
The scheme is expected to break even in 2020.
Basildon Council has urged the authority to hold off while it conducts further consultations with residents.
Tory councillor John Dornan, Basildon’s cabinet member for environment, said: “We are very concerned about the impact this will have on local residents and businesses. This is an issue that goes to the heart of our pledge to create opportunity and the promises we have made to deliver on that.”
Cllr Dornan continued: “We have promised to get the basics right and that means keeping our streets clean and safe.
“I am not sure how this helps. We have promised to look for better services from partners like the county council. This is not better service.
“We have promised to support the local economy.
“We need to be very clear this will not damage our local economy and we do not yet have that information.
“Finally, we have promised to positively transform our borough. I am not sure how plunging our streets into darkness will help do this.
“In short, we believe this ill-conceived and premature. It might be a good idea but we need evidence and I have seen none of it yet. We are therefore calling on the county council to put its plans for our borough on hold until we can gather that evidence.
“Anything else is unacceptable to the people and businesses of Basildon.”
Fellow Basildon Tory David Abrahall was so outraged by the decision that he called for Basildon to become a unitary authority.
He made the comment in an open letter to Tory MP John Baron, after Mr Baron expressed support for plans to cut overnight street lighting in Basildon.
Cllr Abrahall said: “Once again Essex County Council has demonstrated that it has no consideration for the people of Basildon and yet again highlighted why Basildon should be a unitary authority. Only then will we be able to prevent our borough from being the dumping ground of the county.”
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