COUNCILLORS are fighting for streetlights across Castle Point to be turned back on to help police tackle crime.

Canvey Independent Party has put a motion forward ahead of Wednesday’s Castle Point Council meeting calling for an Essex County Council u-turn on its decision to switch off most streetlights between midnight and 5am to save £1million.

The call comes after Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, admitted police find it difficult to do their jobs when the lights are off.

Earlier this month, county council Tories announced several streets in the borough would be included in a trial where energy-efficient LED bulbs would be used to keep lights on throughout the night.

Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Independent Party, said the move by county council leader David Finch and highways boss Rodney Bass was “nothing but electioneering.”

He added: “We all know the LED scheme won’t actually happen, so we need to take action to get the lights back on permanently. We want to echo what Nick Alston has said, and we need to make it easier for police to do their jobs so we can put a stop to crime.’’

Harlow Council budgeted £100,000 to keep its streetlights on overnight, but the proposal was thrown out by the county council.

Mr Blackwell said: “It is disgraceful Harlow has had its bid rejected.”

Colin Riley, leader of Tory-run Castle Point Council, said: “I’m surprised by Nick Alston’s comments because he’s always been of the view that while the fear of crime has increased, the figures do not support that.

“We’ve offered the county council some money to put into the pot for LED lighting, and that’s the way we want to move forward."