Lamp-posts may be health and safety risk

Making your way along the streets of Yarmouth could be a dangerous matter after it was revealed that 15pc of the seaside resort's lampposts could be condemned on health and safety grounds.

Making your way along the streets of Yarmouth could be a dangerous matter after it was revealed that 15pc of the seaside resort's lampposts could be condemned on health and safety grounds.

A shock survey has shown that many of the town's and surrounding villages' footway lights should be immediately replaced or made safe so they do put the public at risk.

Yarmouth Borough Council now faces the stark choice of spending up to £625,000 on replacing all the condemned off-street lighting columns or taking them away and leaving people in the dark.

The dire state of the borough's 3,200 lampposts, some of which are 40 years old, surfaced through a council survey designed to help implement a new maintenance programme.

Simon Mutten, the council's environmental services manager, said in a council report: "The inspection has so far highlighted a significant level of serious structural failure in the older concrete columns which has resulted in their condemnation and a recommendation for removal as soon as practicable, on the basis they constitute a health and safety risk to the public.

"Current projections suggest that around 15pc of the council's total stock is likely to be condemned as unsafe, with a recommendation for immediate action to remove or make safe."

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The predicted number of dangerous columns in Yarmouth and the borough is based on an initial survey of 700 in Caister and Bradwell, which also revealed that a majority of lights failed electrical inspection.

If councillors do not approve finding extra funding to replace any condemned lampposts, at £1,300 each, then another option available is for the columns to be taken away and new ones not to be installed - just as the long winter nights are drawing in.

Mr Mutten said: "This would be likely to result in a significant number of complaints from the public and adversely affect the council reputationally, particularly as the long nights are now upon us."

The council is due to vote on how to deal with the condemned lampposts at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, and if they approve plans to replace them, funds may have to be secured from the 2008-9 budget.

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