MP calls on county council to reconsider plans to turn off village street lights

MP Shailesh Vara

MP Shailesh Vara - Credit: Archant

Shailesh Vara MP has urged Cambridgeshire County Council to reconsider its plans to switch off street lighting at night in Bury.

The MP for Cambridgeshire North West has written to the chief executive of CCC Mark Lloyd to ask him to review the council’s plans. Alongside Huntingdonshire District Councillor Peter Bucknell and chairman of Bury Parish Council John Prestage, he cites concerns for the safety of pedestrians and motorists during any switch-off period.

The village near Ramsey has been targeted along with 16 other parishes in the county to have its street lighting controlled by a central management system. This will allow the lights to be managed remotely and could be switched off completely for a certain period each night.

Mr Vara said: “I am very concerned about the council’s plans to move Bury to a part-time lighting system, which works remotely and I am working with local councillors and the Parish Council to oppose this change. Bury has a busy, winding and narrow road running through it and switching off street lights at night could pose a serious risk to pedestrians and motorists alike.

“I have written to Mark Lloyd, asking him to review the decision and I very much hope that common sense will prevail.”

Cllr Bucknell added: “I was totally shocked to read the proposals to switch-off the majority of the street lights in the village. Why do 17 parishes have central management systems, while the other 67 Huntingdon do not.”

Mr Prestage said: “There is to be no discussion on the designation of major traffic routes through our village – yet again the local voice is ignored as irrelevant.”

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A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “The council needs to make £119 million in savings between now and 2020. This follows three years of finding savings of around £100 million and reduced Government funding as well as more pressure on our services. We are following the lead of other authorities in dimming and turning off some street lights for some of the night to help make these savings.

“High Street, Bury Road and Wood Lane are traffic routes and will not be switched off as part of the part-night light switching proposals. We are talking to parish, district and city councils about these plans and looking at local solutions or concerns. A recent survey has shown that were councils have reduced lighting there has not been an adverse impact on crime or safety.”