Defunct streetlights which left Rochford residents in the dark and “feeling vulnerable” for years are finally being upgraded. 

Essex Highways is in the process of replacing 115,000 street lights across Essex and all Rochford district street lights are set to be upgraded by the end of January next year. 

Julie Gooding, Rochford councillor for the Hawkwell West ward has welcomed the news and residents are overjoyed after battling "ridiculous" dark streets. 

Essex Highways were in Hockley replacing street lights with energy-efficient LED lights yesterday morning. 

Hockley resident Carol Dolder, who lives in Leamington Road, said: “We have four out in a row and it’s so dark.

“I have been reporting it for eight months. It’s particularly bad now as this is a main drop off road for Plumberow Primary Academy.”

The project has been delayed by almost three years, which Essex Highways has blamed on a parts shortage due it the war in Ukraine.  Mrs Gooding said: “It has become very dark on some side streets.

“It’s been quite traumatic for residents, who put in many complaints. Rochford district is quite rural, so we have struggled with the lack of lights on side roads.”

She says White Hart Lane in Hockley was particularly affected, as a total lack of working streetlights left pedestrians in darkness.

“People complained and there was a lot of input from residents,” Mrs Gooding said.

However, she is pleased the new lights will be more energy efficient, especially following Rochford Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in June.

She said: “They are brighter and better for residents.

“It’s fantastic in terms of the environmental impact, but the safety of residents is more important. They have felt quite vulnerable and have been very patient while waiting for the new fittings to become available.”

Tom Cunningham, Essex County Council councillor for highways, infrastructure and sustainable transport, said: “The Essex Highways team has worked very hard to remain on track despite delays out of our control, and the benefits of more energy efficient and longer-lasting lights will mean reduced costs for taxpayers.”