Councillors angered at Stansted light switch-off

PUBLISHED: 14:06 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:15 31 May 2010

A DECISION to switch off streetlights in Stansted has been met with anger and disappointment by the village s councillors. Essex County Council s Audit and General Scrutiny Committee voted to proceed with the trial to turn off all council-operated lights

A DECISION to switch off streetlights in Stansted has been met with anger and disappointment by the village's councillors.

Essex County Council's Audit and General Scrutiny Committee voted to proceed with the trial to turn off all council-operated lights in Stansted from midnight to 5am at a meeting on Monday.

Stansted Parish Council had made a last-ditch attempt to halt the switch-off in the village, which is due to start across Uttlesford either later this month or in April and run until May.

But the Conservative majority on the committee swung the vote, following the calling in of the decision by the Liberal Democrat leader at County Hall, Cllr Tom Smith-Hughes.

Cllr Alan Dean, Stansted South representative on Uttlesford District Council, said: "I am very disappointed indeed with this decision and the people of Stansted will be extremely upset and I expect them to be very angry."

Cllr Bass said: "I find their (Stansted councillors) attitude quite intolerable as they are persisting with a line that is totally impracticable. Local parishioners may not feel they have been given the full attention they deserve, but that's true of any decision the county council makes."

Cllr Dean added there was nowhere left for the parish council to turn. "I don't think we can appeal," he said. "We shall have to keep an eye on the implications and see if people in Stansted are more afraid after dark and whether crime increases."

Stansted Parish Council chairman, Cllr Geoffrey Sell said: "I told the committee about all the complaints I had received from residents and about the county council's abject failure to consult residents in streets destined for darkness."

No date has yet been set for the switch-off, which currently does not apply to Saffron Walden, and exemptions have been granted in Great Dunmow.

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