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What Colour would you like your Street Lights?

January 25, 2013

 Article by Peter Kelk:-     


I have now had occasion to attend two Surbiton Neighbourhood meetings as well as the Development Control Committee on 22nd January.

The Development Control meeting was well run, well structured and as a result I think reached the right conclusion. I compliment the chair of this meeting for her management of what could have ended up being a very difficult meeting. In addition given the attendance and correspondence this was clearly a matter of huge interest and concern to residents in the borough and beyond.

On the following day 23rd January I decided to go to the Surbiton Neighbourhood meeting to see what goes on when there isn’t a “burning issue” on the agenda. I assumed (perhaps naively) that on the day the Council published its intention to defy the Coalition Council Tax freeze increasing it by 2 percent the meeting was bound to be be interesting – I was mistaken!

Much time at the meeting was devoted to the design and colour of new street lights for Surbiton town centre (£290,000) which had generated some resident interest and then various “improvement schemes” which seemed to revolve around painting more yellow lines and adding to or amending parking restrictions at the request of residents or local businesses.

Rather innocently I put up my hand and asked why we needed new street lights at all given the cost and especially as the new ones won’t even be cheaper to run than the existing ones. The response given was that they are rusting .If I have understood correctly the current lights are in their twenties having been put up in the early 1990s.  For a street lamp twenty seems too early to retire (and many seem far older in other areas) and interestingly in the discussion between councillors about whether the new ones should be black or grey there was reference to a lamppost life of 35 to 40 years.

Given there’s no energy saving and that many residents seem to like the existing ones could we not make the street lamps retire later like the rest of us and find a better use for £290,000? We should also insist that when they are replaced they use significantly less energy than the existing ones.

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