A FRUSTRATED Canvey councillor has taken matters into his own hands in a bid to solve a streetlight row in a private road.

Colin Letchford, independent councillor for Canvey East, took it upon himself to purchase two £18.99 streetlight bulbs and then fit them in the 22ft columns in Marine Parade on Monday.

He constructed a makeshift cherry picker by balancing a plywood board and work station on the top of his van to reach the bulbs.

Mr Letchford says he felt compelled to change the bulbs after receiving complaints from residents in the road who say they were plunged into darkness.

He said: “There is an ongoing wrangle between Essex County Council and Castle Point Council as to who is responsible for replacing those bulbs in the street lights as they are in a private road.

“Neither of the councils are budging on this issue, and I just felt I had to help the residents. It’s unfair on them to be quite literally in the dark.”

Mr Letchford says that in the face of both councils denying responsibility, he researched the bulbs required for the lights and purchased replacements, before building his makeshift cherry picker.

Barry Hughes, 65, of Marine Parade, helped Mr Letchford in his efforts to change to the bulbs and has praised the councillor for being proactive.

He said: “We were actually trying to discourage him from doing it because it was quite dangerous, but he was very determined to get it sorted and we’re extremely grateful.

“We’ve gone through a winter of darkness really, as the one of the bulbs has been gone for more than a year and the other stopped working in November.

“Given the state of the road and all its potholes, the lights are vital. It’s great that the situation has been sorted, but there needs to be something in place for when this happens next time.

“The most frustrating thing is that nobody is taking responsibility, just because we live in an unadopted road. It’s a given that things will need replacing, but I wish somebody would just own up.”



CASTLE Point Council insists it is working to prove it is not responsible for maintaining the lights.
David Marchant, the authority’s chief executive, has also warned members of the public against changing streetlight bulbs.
He said: “Castle Point Council is drawing together evidence from records held by the council to bring to an end a dispute between the Essex County Council and the borough council over responsibility for street lighting and show Essex County Council is responsible for the repair and maintenance of a number of streetlights on Canvey.
“On no account should residents including councillors carry out works to repair streetlights – it is potentially very dangerous to themselves and others.
“This work needs to be done by specialist lighting contractors.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council says it will work with Castle Point Council to solve the issue.