At Wednesday’s meeting of Harwich Town Council Labour councillors roundly condemned Conservative controlled Essex County Council for its plan to switch off street lights in Harwich between midnight and 5AM.
Although there are areas exempt from the scheme it is anticipated that 70% of our town will be plunged into total darkness at midnight each night from January 1st.
Labour’s newly elected West Ward councillor, Malcolm Nicholson, explained many of the implications of this Tory designed blackout and proposed that Essex County Council be asked to leave the lights on in Harwich to provide a medium term opportunity to compare the impact of the scheme with other areas.
Labour believes that this short sighted plan will simply transfer costs as, although Essex County Council will save money, the bills caused by increased crime, road traffic accidents, personal injury and vandalism will have to be met by other agencies, businesses and individuals.
The Labour motion further stated that if ECC is unwilling to use Harwich in the manner suggested the council needs an extension to the consultation process in order to discuss the situation with the police before finalising a response.
Labour West Central Ward councillor, Jo Henderson, made it clear that councillors did not possess the expert knowledge required to decide which roads should be lit and which plunged into darkness and that we needed the guidance of the police.
The leader of the Labour Group on Harwich Town Council, Ivan Henderson, expressed his anger and frustration that the Conservatives had taken this decision in 2011 without exploring other possible options and without offering a meaningful consultation before bulldozing their blackout proposal through.
For further information contact: Harwich Labour Press Officer Garry Calver