BASILDON Council is set to stop funding extra police officers and street night lighting as it grapples to balance the books.

Facing £3.4 million in “unexpected” financial pressures, caused by rising inflation and energy costs, the council has announced a raft of drastic proposed measures.

The plans, which include axing funding for extra police and switching of street lights at night, are estimated to create savings of £1.7 million a year.


“The priority of the council absolutely has to be ensuring the safety of residents and the best way to do that is to keep the lights on and keep police on the streets,” Labour councillor Alex Harrison said.

“The fact that the Tories are prepared to cut these services shows they are not committed to keeping people in Basildon safe.”

The Lee Chapel North councillor added: “If the Conservatives had not wasted so much taxpayer money on their vanity project of creating a new local plan then we would be able to afford those vital services.”

The former local plan - axed in February of last year - cost about £2 million to develop.

The council insists the new plan will cost less than that as it will reuse some of the previous research and preparation.

The Conservative administration claims increases to Essex Police’s funding and officer numbers, along with its own investment in a community wardens services, means funding extra officers is no longer necessary.

Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, the authority spent about £100,000 a year on extending night time street lighting in the borough - a responsibility of Essex County Council (ECC).

But with county hall set to reduce how long its keeps the lights on, the council says it faces a “significant cost” topping up the hours paid for by ECC.

Councillor Stuart Sullivan, responsible for resources and commercial, said: “These budget proposals, and continued effective management of our resources, provide a sound financial base which allows us to continue with and add to our ambitious programme of investment and improvement across the borough. 

“We will cut costs where it is appropriate to do so and invest where we can to modernise the way we work for residents.” 

The proposed savings mean the budget for 2023/24 has been balanced, albeit by using £1 million from reserves.

If approved, the proposed budget will then be put before full council on February 23.