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Essex settles street lights row

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Harlow DC and Essex CC have settled their dispute over night time street lighting, which at one time threatened progress on the county’s devolution bid.

Essex has saved money by turning off street lights at most locations from 1-5am each morning, a move that angered districts concerned about the effects on crime and road safety.

Harlow earlier this year offered to pay to restore the lighting but this was dismissed in a letter from Essex’s then cabinet member for highways Rodney Bass (Con) as a “somewhat bizarre financial proposal”, which lacked any substantive justification “other than that it is the opinion of your ruling Labour group”.

Jeff Clempner (Lab), Harlow’s leader said at the time: “Will all councils in Essex be able to credibly pursue devolution based on joint working if this decision is allowed to stand?”

Under the agreement now reached, Harlow will pay £106,000 a year for the additional electricity and Essex will maintain the lights. 

Essex owns 9,005 lights in the borough, of which 85% have been off in the early hours. A further 658 lights are owned by Harlow and are lit all night.

Cllr Clempner said: “This is very good news for residents and businesses and the continued partnership working between the two councils.

“I look forward to working with Essex County Council on other issues of local democracy, accountability and responding to local priorities.”



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