Plans to scrap Harrogate's historic street lights delayed

Henry Pankhurst
Henry Pankhurst

Plans to scrap Harrogate’s historic street lights have been delayed until next year as proposals from the Civic Society to refurbish them are considered.

Earlier this month, North Yorkshire County Council announced they would be replacing 240 of the town’s old gas lamps which have stood since the 1850s.

However, Henry Pankhurst, chairman of Harrogate Civic Society, has proposed plans to convert the lights to modern electrical standards.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) will now consider Mr Pankhurst’s plans to determine whether they would be able to convert the cast-iron lamps into LED lights within their pre-determined budget.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, explained that he would meet with Mr Pankhurst and engineers in the coming days for a demonstration of the conversion.

He said: “I’m willing to listen to the plans to see if it possible to the convert the cast iron lights into modern LEDs within the parameters of the tax payers’ budget.

“We have a budget of £900 per street light but the advice I’m getting is the cost of converting a light would be around£2000-3000, according to other local authorities.”

NYCC have stressed that the lights are ‘inefficient and unreliable’ and, because their light spills in all direction, they often don’t meet the minimum highway illumination requirements.

Mr Pankhurst agreed that the cast-iron lights were not up to modern electrical standards but remained convinced it would be economical to convert rather than scrap them.

He said: “We hope it’s some progress but we have to convince them that the cost is not going to be much different to their favoured steel polls.

“I’m desperately working now to see what we can do but we have not got a precise cost to convert the lights yet.

“I do understand the old ones are not adequate for modern electrical standards but we think we can do an economic conversion.”

In the interim period, NYCC have announced they will replace decaying lighting columns in the Skipton area.

The work was originally programmed to commence in January 2016 but has been brought forward to start within the next two weeks