ANXIOUS residents have voiced their increasing concern over the lack of lighting near a footbridge.

The bridge, over the c2c railway line between Mandeville Way and Durham Road in Laindon, is the main route to the local Tesco for many residents living nearby.

Essex County Council says it is not its responsibility.

A spokesman for Essex Highways said: “This bridge is the property of Network Rail.

“It is not lit nor has it ever been.

“Installing lighting on someone else’s bridge would be unusual but might be within the scope of the Basildon Local Highways Panel and the best way to raise the issue that way is to contact the local Essex County councillor.”

According to National Rail, the structure, excluding the surface and lighting obligation, is owned and maintained by Network Rail while the surface and the footpath surface is maintained by Essex County Council.

Under section 116 of the Transport Act 1968 the railway is absolved from any further liability to maintain public highway surfaces on bridges over railways.

Independent councillor Kerry Smith wrote to Essex Council’s Tory highways chief Ian Grundy earlier this month to say he and other councillors wanted lights installed.

He said: “In 2007 Essex County Council said they wouldn’t be installing any lamp posts in new locations.

“The local highway budget had a £1.5million budget for bins so I said to councillor Grundy ‘why can’t we use some of that for lampposts’?

“Essex County Council don’t want to give a yard or an inch, it’s their way or the highway.

“After around 4pm residents on the Mandeville Way side have to cross it to catch a bus, it’s not safe.

“I certainly wouldn’t want it to be my only option.

“They’ve already agreed that all main roads will be converted to LED so why not just make it a double headed lamppost? Half can light the bridge and half can light the road.”

Mr Smith said he wouldn’t use the bridge himself at night, as it’s an invitation for crime.

A spokesman for National Rail said: “Although in some locations Network Rail has an express statutory or contractual obligation to maintain lighting, this is not such a location.

“The highway authority also does not have an obligation to light the public footpath.”