Local opposition has stopped in its tracks “the planned demise” of Victorian style street lights along the seafront.
East Sussex County Council replaced one light, near Bexhill Sailing Club, with a new modern type using less energy and cheaper to run.
Residents John and Chris Cartwright of De La Warr Parade were first to highlight the issue and called for the older style to be retained “in keeping with this historic seafront.”
The couple discovered from the county council that “cheaper functional” lights would be used as Rother District Council had not provided additional money to replace like with like, and that one-by-one the existing style that was installed 20 years ago would eventually fail and be replaced by similar functional equipment.
John Cartwright said: “We believe that Rother should maintain the Victorian lights in keeping with this historic sea front and thus provide the additional financial support to enable this. The cheap functional lights which shine into our Glyne Hall flat are like prison search lights.”
Cllr Deirdre Williams was “disappointed” to find out that the lamps would gradually be changed from Galley Hill down to Richmond Road because of the council’s budget restrictions and need to save money.
An ESCC spokesman confirmed that while it would “like to be able to replace the decorative lanterns with a similar style” it had to save £885,000 from the street lighting budget over the next three years, so “unfortunately we just don’t have the resources.”
However the future looks brighter thanks to support from Bexhill Old Town Preservation Society which has agreed to pay extra money when the lights are changed.
Cllr Williams said: “The OTPS believe as I do that East Parade is worth keeping in the Victorian/Edwardian style. It would need to be as and when - but a good result I believe.
“I very much hope we can achieve a really good outcome.”
Michael Kent of Bexhill Old Town Preservation Society - which has itself spent £400,000 on pavements and lighting in Old Town - commented: “We are enthusiastic to see something happen there. We don’t have any huge income but we do try and manage our income and spread it as wide as we can.
“We are supportive and would put money towards any project with community involvement - we try to make our money go further for the best of the towm.”