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Plans to cut back on street lighting are in the works

Seaside Eastbourne street lighting has not been working. January 9th 2013 E02234P

Seaside Eastbourne street lighting has not been working. January 9th 2013 E02234P

CHANGES are afoot for street lighting in Bexhill.

East Sussex County Council has been rolling out the idea of switching off street lights in certain residential areas in towns between 12.30am and 5.30am to save cash.

East Sussex residents in places such as Lewes, Hailsham, Seaford, Polegate and Willingdon have been consulted, and the latest town to come under the county’s scrutiny is Rye.

Plans to cut street lighting in Rye were announced this week, with a consultation day on Saturday January 26.

Bexhill is in the pipeline for this consultation, although East Sussex County Council has yet to say when.

It is not yet known what residential areas in Bexhill could have their street lighting cut.

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said: “We will be holding our usual engagement events in Bexhill to make sure everyone is able to have their say.

“The dates are not confirmed yet as we’re liaising with other authorities and organisations - but there will be two dates, one for north Bexhill and one for south.”

However, Bexhill and Battle Labour Party claimed this week that the plans would only save nine pence per month in council tax for the average household, and risk an increase in crime.

Campaigners Alan Bearne and Paul Courtel said: “This measure would save just nine pence per month to an average household, but might have dire consequences.

“These plans will mean that anyone walking home very late in Bexhill will feel less safe.

“People without access to a car and who cannot afford a taxi are more likely to be vulnerable in the dark, unlit streets. It will also increase the risk of injuries where there are uneven pavements or potholes, many of which have increased due to cost-cutting in highway maintenance and recent bad weather. Our guess is that many Bexhillians would prefer to pay nine pence per month more in council tax than undergo these risks.”

The scheme to cut street lighting has been piloted in Uckfield and Heathfield.

Speaking on the announcement for Rye, Cllr Carl Maynard, ESCC lead member for economy, transport and environment, said: “The pilot schemes in other areas have been well-received by residents and businesses in the area, and the local police say there has been no increase in incidents reported to them.

“But we know each town or village will have different needs, so it is really important you come along, look at the proposals and talk through your concerns or issues with our staff.”

Bexhill and Battle Labour Party are conducting a survey. E-mail contact@bexhillandbattlelabour.org.uk, call 734719 or 222761 to find out more, or visit the website at www.bexhillandbattlelabour.org.uk/street_lighting_survey

For information on what is happening in Rye as an example, visit East Sussex County Council’s website at www.east sussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay

 

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