Street lighting proposals for Wetherby

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Street lights in Wetherby could be partially switched off if a plan by Leeds City Council gets the go ahead.

Officials in the city believe that switching off one in eight lamps on main roads and one in 14 lamps on residential streets could save £1.3 across the city.

The plan, which is subject to a consultation, would see the street lights being switched off between midnight and 6am.

Maureen Brewer, chairman of Wetherby and District Crime Prevention Panel, said she would not be supporting the proposals.

She told the News; “I think the current street lighting in Wetherby is of a poor quality and I would like to see a sensor system as an alternative, which would switch lights on when pedestrians or vehicles go by.”

“There is a possibility of increased crime in Wetherby if they are switched off.”

Mrs Brewer said Spofforth Hill in Wetherby and areas close to open green space would be ideal for the sensor-style lighting.

A project to install lantern-style lights across Wetherby outside vulnerable peoples homes - currently still being used- had been a success when they were installed eight years ago, Mrs Brewer said.

Coun Alan Lamb, (Wetherby, Cons) said he felt “frustrated and angry” about the proposals after street lighting columns across Wetherby were increased last year.

Under a 25-year Private Finance Initiative contract, which started in 2006, a consortium provided £100m to replace most of Leeds’s street lamps.

Coun Lamb said: “I think a lot of people will find it particularly frustrating after fighting hard to reduce the number of street lights in Wetherby.

“Crucially there needs to be a meaningful consultation and not a blanket policy. Local councils and local communities can decide what is best for their area.

Coun Lamb added that while he believed street lighting was needed in certain areas such as Wetherby town centre, they were not needed in others and should be treated on a “case by case” basis.

Areas where the part-time light switch off will be avoided are around busy junctions and road crossings, as well as places with high crime rates.

Coun Richard Lewis, the executive board member responsible for development and economy, said:

“We have already taken steps to reduce the amount of energy that our street lights use by installing more efficient lamps and trimming switching times, but there is potentially more that we could do.

“These proposals would enable us to save money that could then be reinvested into other council services.

“We have also given very careful consideration to the areas that would be included to reduce any negative effects.”

The consultation is open from February 11 to April 12. Residents are being asked for their views and should contact the city council online or go to a library to contribute their ideas.