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Five South Norfolk communities remain in the dark over street lighting future

PUBLISHED: 16:10 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 04 April 2018

Heavy snow falls past a street light in Diss. Photoraph Simon Parker

Heavy snow falls past a street light in Diss. Photoraph Simon Parker

Archant

Five communities remain in the dark over the future of their street lights, three months after a district authority said it would be handing over responsibility for them to town and parish councils.

Tim East, county councillor for Costessey, who also sits on the town council. Picture: Bill SmithTim East, county councillor for Costessey, who also sits on the town council. Picture: Bill Smith

In January, South Norfolk Council proposed that the nine parishes, including Costessey, Diss and Wymondham, take on responsibility for managing footway lighting in their area.

At this point, the district council was responsible for managing lights in Chedgrave, Costessey, Diss, Ditchingham, Ellingham, Gillingham, Kirby Cane, Loddon and Wymondham.

In the same report, council officers assessed the “need” for each individual column, setting out the numbers it felt it could justify maintaining in future, should the town or parish council not take on management.

In the cases of Chedgrave, Ellingham and Kirby Cane, none were deemed to be necessary, while other towns and parishes risked losing a significant percentage of their lights.

While four councils have agreed to take responsibilities on, the futures of the remaining five are still unclear.

A spokesman for SNC said so far Wymondham, Chedgrave and Ditchingham had agreed to take on management of their lights, while Diss had agreed in principle. However, decisions from councils in Costessey, Ellingham and Kirby Cane and Gillingham are yet to be made, while Loddon Parish Council had opted not of taking its lights on. Costessey Town Council in particular has raised its concerns over the proposals, with county councillor for the town, Tim East, concerned about whether stumps of decommissioned lights would be removed and if so, who would cover the cost of removing them.

He said: “I do not think this is the way to go forward. This is all about the council wanting to lower their overheads and putting them onto the lowest denominators who are least able to deal with them.

“Costessey Town Council will not be taking them on until we are satisfied that all the issues we have identified are resolved.”

Kay Mason-Billig, SNC cabinet member, said: “The extent of any future lighting is dependent on local parish and town councils deciding how many lights they wish to retain and manage above those that have already been identified as required.”

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