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Residents left in the dark in York


12:02am 30th January 2012

City of York Council have removed almost 500 street lights from York's streets over the past few weeks, but the Labour Cabinet have yet to identify any funding to replace them..

The lights have been removed following a safety inspection, but many residents have been surprised by their removal as the work was carried out without warning and without explaining to residents what was happening.

It has now emerged that the Labour Cabinet allowed the removals but failed to indentify any funding to replace the lights, meaning residents will be forced to wait to find out if any money can be found in next year's budget to carry out the work.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Communities and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Ann Reid, said Labour had failed to consider the impact of their decision.

She said:

"It would seem that when agreeing the removal of the street lights Labour didn't consider the full impact of what they were approving. At no point have they bothered to let residents know what is happening and it now appears that they didn't think to allocate any money to replace the lights."

"The Council has a contingency fund included in the budget the deal with issues that arise like this, but it seems that Labour's failure to control spending in other areas means there are other demands on that funding."

"These are difficult financial times for the Council but that is no excuse for approving a survey of all street lighting in the city, without thinking about how to deal with the results of such a survey."

Councillor Reid said residents could be waiting some time for the lights to be replaced. She said, "The failure to find any money to replace the lights means that at the very earliest these lights won't be replaced until the new financial year. This means residents will be left to manage through the remainder of the dark winter nights with reduced street lighting."  

"While the weather has been unusually mild so far this winter, if there is a cold spell the reduced lighting will make it harder to spot ice on the pavements and many elderly residents have contacted me concerned about not being able to go outside. These concerns have been made much worse by the complete failure to inform residents about what was happening."

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