Lights could go back on - if Kenilworth pays
NIGHT-TIME lights could return to Kenilworth’s streets - but only if residents are prepared to fork out up to £45,000 per year to cover the costs.
Town councillors agreed to look into the cost for the street lamps to remain lit through the night and to fund it through their own budget after two months of fear and upset over the imposed blackout.
Warwickshire County Council has switched all lights in the district off between midnight and 5.30am - and an hour later at weekends - in a money saving measure to save up to £500,000 each year.
But the move caused fury in Kenilworth with businesses claiming loss of trade and attacks being blamed on the lack of lighting.
Cllr Andrew Mobbs (Con Parkhill) who proposed the funding scheme at the council’s January meeting, said the blackout had generated more debate than any other issue he has known and called to return Kenilworth to a “civilised town”.
Speaking to members he said: “We need to give this council more teeth. We are reliant on the district and county councils to deliver anything.
“If there is a way to help the town then we should do it. I don’t want to see a disaster on my watch and am vehemently against the county council on this one.”
If the idea gets support, council tax would have to increase to cover the cost. This financial year the town council collected just under £181,000 from the budget - £18.15 per average household.
Exactly how much this would need to be increased to cover the cost of the lights has not yet been calculated, but a rough figure of anywhere up to £45,000 is expected.
And this figure has already been branded as “absurd” by county councillor John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Abbey) who questions how happy residents would be about having to pick up the bill in hard times.
“Considering the impact on the average house, that amount of money could fund an awful lot of other projects,” he said.
“People might take real issue with this. It is an awful lot of money for a town council to be spending and it is residents who will be paying for it.”
The idea has been met with mixed reaction, with one worker saying she would “pay anything” to see lights back, and another being happy for the blackout to save in the first place.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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