As reported in today’s Northern Echo we are still really concerned about the A167 streetlight removal:
COUNCILLORS say turning out the lights alongside one of a county’s busiest roads would make the area unsafe for pedestrians.
Durham County Council plans to remove 35 street lights from a stretch of the A167 between Pity Me roundabout and Sniperley, on the northern outskirts of Durham City, over the summer.
The move comes amid a wider overhaul of street lights across County Durham, which has seen many lights removed and others dimmed overnight.
Back in 2013, the council said the changes would save £24m over the following 25 years, a total rising to £55m when inflation was taken into account.
But Mark Wilkes and Amanda Hopgood, Liberal Democrat county councillors for Framwellgate Moor and Newton Hall, say removing lights at the section in question would not be safe.
They claim the stretch has a joint cycle-footpath which is no more than 1.5m wide, narrower in places, and rarely maintained and they want safety improvements introduced before the lights go out.
Cllr Wilkes said: “We simply do not believe it is safe to remove all the lighting on this stretch without widening the shared cycle and footpath and providing a central refuge to get to public footpaths.
“I’ve been asking for years for the path to be improved and the council have again and again done nothing. If there are accidents along this stretch they will have themselves to blame.”
John Reed, the council’s head of technical services, said the lights were being removed as part of an ongoing programme to reduce energy costs.
He said the “standard running costs” of the lights was more than £4,000 a year, not including “potential replacement costs going forward”.
In a statement, Mr Reed added: “Removing street lights is only considered where it is safe to do so, following a thorough risk assessment undertaken by an independent road safety auditor.”
Cllr Hopgood said: “Any suggestion that the council can’t afford to widen the path or install a refuge simply does not stack up.
The council can afford six communications departments, spent millions on the stretch from Durham to Spennymoor and have over £200m in reserves.
“They should delay removal until they have found the money for this improvement.”
Removing street lights from the A167 further south between Durham and Rushyford was controversial when it was announced last year and there have also been calls for lights to be reinstalled on the A692 between Consett and The Grove, where a 27-year-old motorist died last November.