Streetlights: But will Harlow MP Halfon and fellow Tories get them switched on first?

Politics / Thu 15th Jan 2015 at 04:41pm

HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon, is spearheading a campaign to get streetlights in Harlow switched on, and kicked off the campaign by raising the issue in Parliament today (Thursday).

Robert Halfon has said that he will ask Cllr. Rodney Bass, the Essex Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for street light, whether he would accept street lights being turned on in Harlow if a way could be found to pay for it.

Robert has suggested that Harlow Council could pay Essex Council the cost price of switching the street lights back on, with the New Homes Bonus grant that they receive from the Government.

Harlow Council has received over £704,000 from the New Homes Bonus in the last year, which Robert has said could be used to pay Essex Council to switch the streetlights back on. Essex Council switched to part night lighting in Essex due to its need to balance their budget and save over £1 million.

Robert has written to Rodney Bass and asked if he will consider Robert’s proposals further.

Robert commented:
“Switching the streetlights back on is one of the biggest issues in Harlow at the moment, and I am determined to do whatever I can to help. Today I am asking Cllr. Bass whether he would consider switching the streetlights back on throughout the night, if the money could be found elsewhere. Last year, Harlow Council received over £700,000 in the New Homes Bonus grant from the Government, and the cost of paying for the streetlights to be turned on would only be a fraction of it. Considering the level of feeling in Harlow, I believe this would be a great use of the money”.

During Business of the House Questions, Robert raised his idea in Parliament, saying “May we have a statement on street lights in Essex? I am currently campaigning for Essex council to allow Harlow council to turn the lights back on, following Essex council’s decision to turn them off after midnight. Will my right hon. Friend look into this matter, and will he ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to speak to Essex council, to see how Harlow can be helped?”

Rt Hon. William Hague MP responded, saying “My hon. Friend has raised this issue before, and I welcome the work that he does on behalf of his constituents—as I am sure they do—on this important matter. He understands all too well that street lighting in Harlow is the responsibility of Essex county council, as the local highway authority, and that central Government are unable to intervene in local matters such as this. I encourage him to continue to make representations to the county council so that it can consider this important issue further and perhaps reach an agreement on street lighting in Harlow.”

Robert has previously campaigned on the issue, alongside the Harlow Conservative group have been vocal in their opposition to part-night lighting.

Cllr. Andrew Johnson, Leader of the Conservative Group said “The Conservative group on Harlow council agree that street lighting is a high priority for people in this town. We are happy to support Rob in his campaign to get the lights back on and glad that he is leading for the town on this issue”.

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