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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Brian Clark urges KCC cabinet member “Do not keep Kent's residents in the dark over disastrous streetlight policy”

March 28, 2015 4:29 PM

Brian Clark with Tina BrookerFollowing last months Lib Dem budget amendment to restore full night lighting in Kent Liberal Democrat County Councillor Brian Clark was back again this month to try seek clarification on this troubled policy, due to be shelved after LED lamp conversion following pressure from the Lib Dem group and local residents.

Cllr David Brazier the then cabinet member for Highways and Transport evaded every opportunity in the budget debate to clarify the position surrounding how and when we will return to all night lighting. Days later it was announced that Cllr Brazier will no longer be serving in this post.

Last Thursday, Cllr Clark once again attempted to clarify the position around re-establishing all night lighting, by asking the new cabinet member Cllr Matthew Balfour for a detailed statement including the clarification of the reasons for returning to all night lighting, the circumstances under which re-instatement of all night lighting will begin, and when can Kent's residents finally expect to see full night lighting restored across the county.

Unfortunately Cllr Balfour chose not to answer the question directly choosing instead to provide background to the LED lighting scheme. Cllr Clark, noted that while the response was lengthy, the question had been left unanswered. He asked if the cabinet member would at least consider reviewing lessons learned from the failure of the original scheme, although no such agreement was forthcoming.

Later a 10,000+ signature petition was presented by Gravesend resident Tina Brooker urging councillors to restore all night lighting. Ms Brooker gave an eloquent speech to outline her case and was supported by residents in the public gallery. Her speech was followed by a debate in the chamber in which Cllr Clark urged councillors to consider the complexities of urban areas and vote to re-establish all night lighting now rather than waiting 2-3 years for the roll out of LED lighting to complete. The amendment was defeated instead a motion was passed to carefully consider how to turn the lights back on with no set timescales.

Afterwards Cllr Clark stated, "They have not performed an equalities impact assessment, or heeded concerns of residents or the police. The whole part-night lighting scheme has been a disaster but those responsible are clearly in denial. The cost of this program, in which every streetlamp had to be modified, is now likely to far exceed the savings in energy. If the cabinet member accepts that we must return to all night lighting, why wait 2-3 years and risk the safety of our most vulnerable residents in the meantime"