AN UPGRADED zebra crossing has finally been connected to the national grid, seven months after it was installed.

In December 2015, 84-year-old Joan Gilbert was killed on the zebra crossing on High Road, Benfleet when she was hit by a car.

This led to a successful campaign to see the crossing upgraded to include flashing lights at either end, but since completion in April, the lights have remained unconnected to the power supply.

UK Power Networks claimed that there was a problem with identifying the owners of the cable.

Councillor Andrew Sheldon, who led the campaign, said: “We decided to upgrade the crossing after a tragic accident that shocked and saddened our whole community almost two years ago.

“UK Power Networks had no objections to the plans and Essex Highways completed the work last April. For it to just sit there, unpowered and unfinished for seven months was beyond a joke.

“They were the likely owners of the cable anyway but were fumbling around trying to prove it either way. It wouldn’t have mattered who owned it, Essex County Council would still have paid the bill.

“This crossing is used by lots of shoppers, parents and children every day. Red tape should not be put before road safety. Myself and local highways officers just had to push and push and push to get this done, and we simply shouldn’t have had to.”

An Essex Highways spokesman said: “We would like to apologise for the delay in connecting power at this site, which forms an important crossing point for pedestrians in the Benfleet area. We are working with UK Power Networks to investigate how we can help to avoid similar complications in future, after they attended the site on Friday to complete the power installation.”