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Calls For Streetlight Rethink in York

street light

8:45am 15th April 2013

There are fears of a rise in crime if changes to street lights in York go ahead. Opposition Lib Dem Ann Reid wants plans to ditch night time inspections of lights to be scrapped.

Instead you'll have to phone a freephone number to report problems which will save the city council 34-thousand pounds.

The decision will be reassessed at a meeting of the Council's Scrutiny Management Committee today.

Councillor Ann Reid said:

“We have a number of concerns about these proposals. When the Council stopped routinely checking for faulty lighting about 15 years ago, some communities quickly reported faults, but in other areas lights were often left not working for months. No apparent research or consultation was carried out before this latest decision was taken on how it would work this time.

“The decision, which was made in secret, failed to present any business case as to how a council operated service would function or what capacity exists within the council to do the work. They seem to be relying on staff being TUPE’d across from the contractor, but this is not certain and it is unclear what pension and other costs this could involve. There was also no proper analysis of the service currently provided by the contractor or the service standards that the Council hopes to achieve.

“All in all, it looks like a rushed decision. This is perhaps not surprising as the Council left consideration of a replacement until just 10 days before the current contract with AMEY was due to expire on the 31st March. The Council should not be rushing decisions or taking any risks with such a vital frontline service. This is why we have called-in the decision. We want some proper analysis to take place. With no contract in place, we will also be asking questions as to what is currently happening with streetlight maintenance.”

Here's cabinet member David Levene:

“An in-house streetlight maintenance service will generate additional income for the Council and provide an improved service for residents and businesses. It will create greater flexibility in prioritising budgets and responding to call-outs, while contributing to budget savings without affecting the level of service.”

“An additional decision was made that instead of scouts driving round the city at night, costing significant sums on fuel and antisocial hours payments, if there’s a noticeable fault with a streetlight then it can be easily reported by residents using the freephone number found on every streetlight. Encouraging greater resident involvement in delivering services as part of the Smarter York programme is a sensible, positive move that will help make the savings required by massive cuts made by Liberal Democrats in Government. Liberal Democrats locally have a terrible record on streetlighting, with years of chronic under-investment requiring this Labour administration to undertake a comprehensive replacement programme in the interests of public safety.”

“The Decision Session was carried out in accordance with guidance issued by their own Government”

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