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Last-minute effort to stop street lights going out
6:20am Tuesday 3rd December 2013 in Local News
CONTROVERSIAL plans to plunge Castle Point into darkness could be delayed again.
The majority of street lights in the borough are set to be switched off later this month as part of Essex County Council’s proposals to cut costs and carbon emissions across the county.
The plans will save County Hall just £64,000 in the Castle Point constituency. In Canvey alone, that figure is about £20,000.
The switch-off has sparked outrage among residents and councillors, who fear it will lead to a rise in crime.
Now, Canvey county councillor Dave Blackwell has said he will lobby members of County Hall’s place services and economic growth scrutiny committee to back a call in for the decision to be looked at again.
This comes after the council already postponed the switch-off by a week, to December 9, to give residents and councillors more time to review the plans.
Mr Blackwell said: “Everyone is unhappy about these proposals.
It’s all about saving money, but some things are just more important.
“How can you say one street can keep their lights on and yet another one can’t?
“The whole consultation has been a sham. The majority of people have not been able to have their say and what really annoys me is the plans have been so poorly publicised there are still lots of people who don’t even know the lights are going off. It’s just outrageous.”
Mr Blackwell is putting together a portfolio of evidence.
He claims he can prove, among other things, car crime and burglary has gone up in places such as Maldon and Uttlesford where the lights have already been turned off.
He hopes a demand for a call-in will be backed by Thundersley county councillor Jamie Huntsman and Loughton county councillor Chris Pond, who both sit on the committee.
Mr Huntsman has already publically denounced the plans, claiming it would be like living in the Middle Ages, rather than the 21st century.
Mr Blackwell said: “County Hall has not looked properly at how crime has been affected by the street lights. Figures prove some crimes have gone up to above the national average in areas where the lights are off.
“I’ve already spoken to county councillor Chris Pond, who will be calling in the decision for his own district Loughton, which will have its lights turned off at the same time as ours, so I’m sure he will support us. If not, I’m sure county councillor Jamie Huntsman will also agree as a local member.”
The county council confirmed it had received a request for a call-in over night lighting and a vote would be taken on it.
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