THE stretch of the A13 leading to the busy Sadlers Farm roundabout will be plunged into darkness in the early hours of the morning from the end of March.

Essex County Council, which has been switching off the lights across the county to save money, will turn them off between midnight and 5am between the Five Bells roundabout (A176) and Sadlers Farm roundabout (A130).

The part-night lighting scheme will begin on Sunday, March 30, with all lights on the stretch of road extinguished.

Many residents and businesses have reacted with frustration since the lights went out in Castle Point last month, with concerns raised over a possible increase in the amount of crime and fears about going out after dark.

Denise Briggenshaw, 46, of The Upway, Basildon, said: “This is absolute madness.

“When it is pitch black and cars are driving towards you the lights completely blind you. You simply cannot see what is in front of you.

“It is just a sham – especially as the scheme is costing so much to implement anyway.

“I have been driving since I was 19, but I won’t be using this stretch of road anymore.”

All major junctions will remain lit during the one-year trial period. At the end of this time, County Hall will agree to continue to the end of the two-year trial period or abandon the trial on the A13 and A127.

County Hall is aiming to save up to £1million a year by introducing the scheme, which has also been introduced in Chelmsford, Braintree, Basildon, Colchester, Epping Forest, Rochford, Tendring, Brentwood and Harlow and on the A127.