Villagers will have say on lights

VILLAGERS will not be left in the dark about street lighting in Stoke-by-Nayland.

The whole village is be consulted about the options for keeping the lights on – or even switching them all off to save money – as part of a review.

A survey has shown that 15 of the 28 lights, all owned by the parish council which pays more than £2,000 a year to maintain them and for electricity costs, are not compliant with current regulations.

Some of the options include paying £28,000 to make the lights compliant, asking Suffolk County Council to adopt the village’s lighting system or to disconnect the power supply to all the lights, which councillors were told would cost £277 for every light in the village.

“So we would still need to pay for it even if we decided not to have any lights at all,” said parish councillor David Slater at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Suffolk County Council’s electrical services lighting manager Richard Webster, who attended the meeting, apologised to the village for his engineers changing a light outside the church which was not compliant without permission.

The survey, carried out by Suffolk County Council, showed 15 street lights in the village are not compliant, and 24 lights have a type of light bulb which is no longer produced.

Although the county council has bought a limited supply of bulbs from the manufacturer, they would run out in the future.

Mr Webster said energy costs had increased spending on the county’s 55,000 streets lights by 30 per cent over a year, and initiatives such as the Intelligent Lighting system, where the county can control individual street lights, and switch lights off at night to save money, could be introduced in Stoke-by-Nayland.

Parish council chairman Adam Sedgwick said councillors would not make a decision on the future of street lighting in the village until it had consulted with all residents, considered all cost options and come up with the best solution for the everyone.

Referring to the costings in the survey, he said: “We have no experience of going to the city for loans. These figures just don’t stack up.”