Lights to stay off after 73% say no to £45,000 bill

Diss, Norfolk. Mount Street Street Lighting
Diss, Norfolk. Mount Street Street Lighting

Plans for residents to pay to keep Kenilworth’s streets lit through the night have been scrapped after overwhelming opposition for the idea.

Kenilworth Town Council looked into funding a return of the street lights after upset across the town over the dangers of the midnight blackout.

They put the question to the town, but scrapped the idea after 73 per cent of residents who got in touch to have their say rejected the idea.

Cllr Andrew Mobbs (Con, Parkhill) put forward the idea of raising council tax to cover the estimated £45,000 costs.

And he said of all opinions received, just 15.5 per cent wanted the lights to go back on and 11.5 per cent were happy to see only minor changes to the current system.

“I had a lot of feedback on this but the large majority of people do not support the option of paying to have the lights back and we will listen to the town on this,” he told councillors at their last meeting.

Warwickshire County Council now turns off nearly all lights in the district at midnight during the week and 1am at weekends to save £500,000 per year.

It would have cost the town taxpayers anywhere around 75,000 per year to have them back on following outcry in Kenilworth over safety for late night workers who are left to walk home in darkness.

Instead of trying to return the lights, the town council has instead put forward a list of 10 junctions to be considered for full lighting through the night when the county council reviews the scheme in the autumn.

These include St Nicholas Avenue, Queens Road, Randall Road, Farmer Road, Common Lane, Rouncil Lane and Malthouse Lane entrances. They have also requested more lights along Clinton Lane.

County Councillor, Dave Shilton (Con, Parkhill) said there was “nothing stopping” councillors or police from requesting for individual lights to be turned back on outside homes of vulnerable people.

“Elderly people can struggle and we can work to help those people,” he said. “There is nothing to stop you ringing the council to request a light go back and I have done so.”

Cllr Shilton is calling for the switch off time to be changed to 1am every night to allow for pub and restaurant workers to get home safely after outcry from businesses that staff and customers fear walking home in the dark.

“A light can make a big difference to feeling safe and to confidence on your own at night,” he said.

“We have a lot of late night business in Kenilworth and we need to support that.

“Not everyone can afford a taxi home every night and for these workers the light makes a big difference.”