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Battle to keep street lights on
A TORY councillor who is fighting to keep street lights switched on has called Essex County Council a “bully” for refusing to consider his views.
John Dornan, Basildon councillor responsible for the environment, is furious feedback sent during County Hall’s consultation period has not been considered by bosses.
Essex County Council plans to turn off 70 per cent of its lights between midnight and 5am in Basildon from December, to save £1million a year.
The county council gave local authorities four weeks to gather and send in their feedback, before September 27.
Basildon Council joined business leaders demanding a halt to the street light switch-off until evidence-based research had assessed how the light switch-off would affect Basildon residents.
But the authority will not consider the request, adding only engineers will consider its feedback.
John Dornan, Basildon’s cabinet member for environment, said: “This is an outrageous response. Engineers should do what the cabinet member tells them to do.
“If the cabinet member is aware of this response he needs taking to task. Basildon Council wouldn’t dream of responding in this way – it’s treating people with contempt.
“It’s almost as if they are saying they will do what they want anyway. I am sick of the way they bully local authorities, businesses and people.”
Mr Dornan, who is also Tory borough councillor for Laindon Park, said he wants a “stay of execution” so County Hall can consider doing more research, and said “99 per cent” of Basildon residents supported him.
He added: “Theyhaven’t even had the decency to send us the list of lights which are going to be switched off. They have not considered any of the issues people have raised.”
An Essex County Council spokesman said the response was automatic, and due to the volume of e-mails received, it was not possible for the county council to respond individually to Basildon Council’s request.
He added: “While the formal consultation period for partnight lighting has finished, Essex County Council will continue to work with district and borough councils to identify lights which meet the exemption criteria.
“These responses will be considered by the cabinet member until the date of implementation. The cabinet member for highways and transportation, Rodney Bass, is continuing to lead on this work and Essex engineers will follow direction from him.”
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