Leverington one of many villages says parish council chairman facing massive bills for street lights

10:08 08 August 2014

Archant

A parish council chairman has warned that “it’s not going to be a very nice year” after being told her village must find £140,000 in the next three years to replace 40 street lights.

Sylvia Tooke, chairman of Leverington parish council, said the situation was critical since Fenland Council had warned that 23 of the lights should be replaced within the year.

“We can’t say we don’t want the street lights, you can’t leave a village without street lights,” said Mrs Tooke.

“Every village is being hit by this apparently- it’s the first time it’s happened.”

The parish council chairman has also issued a statement through the village newsletter explaining that the parish owns 112 of the street lights in Leverington.

“Recently there has been a survey ordered by Fenland District Council (and all parishes in Fenland have been surveyed) and the results are alarming for all councils but especially for us,” says the statement.

“Twenty three of those lights should be replaced within 12 months, 40 within three years.

“The annual grant of £4000 from Fenland Council has also been cut this year to £3,000. At a cost at this time of £3,500 for each light that is an impossible task and the council cannot increase your council tax to that extent.

“The annual budget allows for two replacements in the year. No grants are available for this type of amenity. The parish council may have to make a decision to take out street lights instead of replacing them.”

The statement says that Councillor Bryan Baker has attended three meetings at Fenland Council on behalf of the parish council “to try and negotiate some kind of help and support as parish councils do not have that kind of money.”

Cllr Tooke’s statement added: “Because of the major expense in providing a parish cemetery, I can tell you that this parish has only £144.00 in the reserve account. “Enough for a few light bulbs! As you can see, council work is not easy.”

A Fenland Council spokesman said: “Balfour Beatty has carried out a survey of all the street lighting on behalf of the lighting owners. This involves about 1,800 street lights; about half are owned by FDC, the other half by parish councils. The survey data is currently being verified.

“The district council has held two meetings with parish councils to explore the best financial solution. Those discussions are continuing.”

1 comment

  • Whilst I am an Elm Parish Councillor, I do not write this on behalf of the Council and the views expressed herein are mine only. Leverington is not alone. Elm Parish, so I am informed, is expected to pay £75,000 over the next three years according to the survey provisional results reported by Balfour Beatty to Fenland District Council. As far as Elm Parish Council is concerned, it is sad that this is the first that I, and other Councillors, knew of the progress of this survey since its being first advised at our meeting in December 2013January 2014 Our Parish Council meeting on 19 August 2014 looks to be interesting as according to our Clerk when recently asked “Can you please advise whether anyone in (Elm Parish Council) EPC knew of these "provisional figures", he replied “I certainly did not know; I assume that no other councillor was aware”. “There has been no reporting to council with regard to this situation”. I have asked the Head of Assets & Projects at Fenland Hall for a copy of the provisional report from Balfour Beatty. In essence, he refused - until discrepancies were resolved. There are many questions to be asked - and they will be asked on behalf of all Elm Parish residents – that I promise. Robert Pinnock Elm

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    Robert Pinnock

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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