Council ‘between a rock and a hard place’ over future of street lights

Costessey Town council has agreed in principle to take on some 230 street lights from South Norfolk

Costessey Town council has agreed in principle to take on some 230 street lights from South Norfolk CouncilPicture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

After several months of deliberation councillors in Costessey have come to a decision over the future of a town's street lights.

Members of Costessey Town Council (CTC) have agreed to, in principle, take on the responsibilty of the area's some 230 street lights from South Norfolk Council. The decision was made at an executive meeting held on Wednesday when Costessey Town Council voted to take on the street lights subject to the contract of the transfer of street lighting infrastructure between the town and district authority.

The decision follows the district authority's announcement in January that it would be handing over the responsibility of street lights in nine parishes within South Norfolk, including Costessey.

Other parishes faced with the same decision included Wymondham, Chedgrave, Diss, Ditchingham, Ellingham, Gillingham, Kirby Cane and Loddon.

Of the nine parishes tasked with choosing whether or not to take on the responsibility of their street lights from the district council Costessesy is the last to come to a decision.

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In April after similar lengthy deliberations Diss Town Council also chose to take on the responsibility of its town's street lights.

Following the decision county councillor Tim East said that he felt the town council had been put between a 'rock and a hard place' by the district authority describing the offer put to the council as 'hard-nosed'.

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He said: 'Costessey Town Council was left between a rock and a hard place over this 'offer' by South Norfolk Council to essentially cut their overheads and save district council costs by shunting them down to town and parish councils.

'CTC had little option but to accept this hard-nosed 'offer' as to do otherwise would have been to the disadvantage of the residents of Costessey.

'The effect will be that Costessey's Town Council band D rate will eventually go up by about 3 to 4pc as SNC's Special Street Light Levy, collected by them from tax payers of Costessey over the last 44 years, will be removed from SNC precept demand, but transferred and added to the Town Council's share'.

SNC where approached for comment but declined to comment.

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