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Administration and opposition councillors on Basildon Council’s Policy and Resources Committee came together last night (Wednesday 2 October) to commit funding to ensure the borough’s streets are lit throughout the night.
Lights were first turned off between the hours of midnight and 5am in February 2014. Times were later altered to 1 – 5am.
The committee agreed to enter into an agreement with Essex County Council, who provide and maintain the street lights, to restore all-night lighting and pay £146,000 to cover the cost of the additional lighting from the end of October to March 2020 with further funding to be agreed at a later date.
The full-year cost for the borough is currently £275,000 a year. However, this cost should come down by as much as 40 per cent once the borough’s lights are upgraded to more cost effective and efficient LED lights – work that is scheduled to done by Essex County Council in 2020/21.
Leader of Basildon Council and chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Gavin Callaghan, said: “It is abundantly clear that residents are overwhelmingly behind this proposal. Street lights make residents feel safer and give them greater confidence to move around their own borough during these times.
“Basildon is a 24/7 economy with shift workers working throughout the night. Safety in our homes, at work and on our roads is crucial.
“I am delighted that all councillors see the value of this and that we are able to speak with one voice to Essex County Council to get this agreement finalised. This administration will work with whoever we need to so we get things done to improve our borough for those who live and work here.”
Councillor Kevin Blake, member of Policy and Resources Committee and deputy leader of the Conservative Group, said: “This is a common sense step to improve community safety. As councillors we talk to residents regularly whose number concern is feeling safer in their own neighbourhoods and want these lights back on.
“Plenty of residents work shifts and need to be out and about during between 1am and 5am – they deserve the protection that street lighting can help provide.”
Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “We are happy that Basildon Borough Council’s Policy and Resources Committee has reached a cross-party consensus on funding all-night lighting, and we are looking forward to concluding work on its introduction in the borough.
“Our approach is characterised by a willingness to work with districts, boroughs and city councils on local issues and priorities.”
Officers from Basildon and Essex County Councils will now work with county council colleagues to finalise the agreement so that the lights are turned back on through the night from October 31.