Harlow Labour leader concerned over Tory plans for streetlights

News / Thu 4th Aug 2022 am31 08:38am

THE LEADER of Harlow Labour has expressed his concerns over possible increases in charges by Tory-run Essex County Council in order to keep the street lights on.

Councillor Chris Vince said: “I was hugely disappointed to hear that Essex County Council are even considering increasing the charge they place on Harlow Council for keeping streetlights on overnight across our town.  I recognise that costs are tough for the County Council but for Harlow Council these costs have an even greater impact, and not just because of inflationary costs but with a much smaller budget and funding from central government.   The Conservatives have cut funding to Harlow Council by 70% over the past twelve years.

While in administration Harlow Labour made the decision to keep lights on overnight because we believed that it was an important part in keeping residents safe.  Harlow is home to a number of shift workers, not least nurses and Doctors at Princess Alexandra, and turning off night-time lighting would be extremely dangerous.  Many of these shift workers are women and we know from high profile cases across the country that attacks on women by men are still tragically high. 

However, let me reiterate that we should not have to have made this decision and lighting is a duty of the county council, one which they have sadly decided to relinquish.  Harlow residents are already being forced to pay twice for street lighting.

Harlow Labour group call on the Harlow’s Conservative administration to have serious conversations with their Essex County Council colleagues and ensure that Harlow’s streetlights stay on and at minimal additional cost to Harlow residents.  The safety of our communities should be of primary concern and one in administration Harlow Labour took very seriously, keeping our streetlights on and also introducing community safety officers across our town in the wake of Conservative cuts to community policing.  

If this proposed rise in cost is incurred then it is another unexpected cost which the Conservative administration at Harlow Council, who last year recklessly raided reserves to bribe the electorate with a one-off giveaway, were not expecting and will add additional pressure to an ever-shrinking budget.  Sadly, neither of the Conservative leadership hopefuls seems too concerned about local government so expect further cuts and more pressure on Harlow Council.  

“We await the final cost that Conservative led Essex County Council demand for us doing their job for them but let me be clear, the Labour Party is firmly committed to keeping night-time lighting and keeping our communities safe”.

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13 Comments for Harlow Labour leader concerned over Tory plans for streetlights:

Gloria hembrow
2022-08-04 09:06:40

I want them OFF!!! please. Save money but more important. Help save our planet from light pollution and give our wildlife a chance !

2022-08-04 09:14:44

There are many alternative strategies looking at other countries: solar / mains / battery driven LED cats eyes or street lamps that sense people and cars seem particularly successful on all roads and even motorways. They are resilient, low running costs, provide security and reduce accidents. Or and households required to provide one light onto the street with only major roads and junctions with public traditional lighting. Roads are everywhere and a National issue so provision should be nationally determined rather than subject to wasteful spats between district and county councils.

David Forman
2022-08-04 09:43:06

In case Cllr Chris Vince hasn't noticed there is a cost of living and energy price crisis which affects Essex County Council as much anyone else. Also, I'm sure the Conservative controlled County Council will be mindful of not pulling the rug from under the Conservatives at Harlow Council when setting the price.

Dorothy King. (Chair MGRA)
2022-08-04 09:54:11

To lose the street lights In this area will leave many residents vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and possibly more dangerous risks. We have pathways through wooded areas used by many shift workers and torchlight is not enough!

2022-08-04 10:04:46

Oh look, Essex Council jumping on the Profit Bandwagon. If you turn of the lights we won’t be able to see the POTHOLES.

James Leppard
2022-08-04 10:48:03

As usual, Cllr Vince is doing his regular impersonation of Quick Draw McGraw, shooting from the hip and missing the target completely. Harlow Labour continues to focus on chronic whinging as a cover for their complete lack of policies…as amply shown during their wasted decade in power. As for accusing the current administration of recklessness regarding the Council Tax cut, it might have escaped his attention (Labour usually fail to do their homework) that the tax cuts were fully budgeted and signed off by the Council’s Section 151 Officer. Tax cuts are both a novelty and anathema to a Party which consistently increased taxes year on year and who even proposed increasing it again this year in their pathetic alternative Budget. They are unfit to be in Administration.

Emily Pankhurst
2022-08-04 11:54:59

Drive around Harlow at 4am on an autumn/ winter morning and see how many women/men have to not only walk to work as there isn't any transport but also in the dark (pitch black). A lot of these are hospital staff and carers in care homes. All are very vulnerable especially navigating through our large estates.

2022-08-04 15:50:58

Switch the lights off overnight, in common with many councils up and down the country. Lights can be kept on at junctions and other strategic locations.. The decision to keep them on cost £100,000 annually at the time and there is no impact on personal safety, just perceptions.

2022-08-04 16:40:34

Where I grew up the street lights were always switched off between 11pm and 6am. This was done to reduce light pollution and allow the night sky to be admired. Not long ago in Harlow the lights were switched off at night and the crime rate went down too. It would appear to me that turning them off would be a win win, and that’s without even considering the environmental/ financial benefits.

Anita Sea
2022-08-04 17:41:15

I remember the first time the lights got turned off. The screams I heard outside of the people trying to make it back home from the pub without the luxury of light did make me chuckle. I've got a dark sense of humour.

Steve Crewe
2022-08-04 19:07:57

Stupid idea turning them off, pub's were kicking out time. People trying to see their way home. Use automated lights, light up when activated.

2022-08-05 07:09:56

Harlow's lights went off many years ago!

Michael Hardware
2022-08-05 19:17:20

I grew up in Cambridgeshire 50 years ago and all the lights went off at midnight and still do: there is no greater crime or accident rate there! Switch them off and save electricity, money and the environment! It seems Labour care about none of these!

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