Streetlights will stay on with council tax hike to cover £25,000 shortfall

A street light in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley

A street light in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2009

Residents in Broadland will have to pay more to keep the lights on, it has been confirmed.

Council tax for residents in Hellesdon and Drayton is set to be hiked to pay for a £25,000 shortfall in footpath light maintenance across Broadland and annual checks will be scrapped.

Following a change in

Norfolk County Council policy which meant they would no

longer adopt new footway

lighting, Broadland District Council decided in February to shift responsibility for all 716 lights in the district to five parish councils.

But Hellesdon and Drayton, in which the vast majority of these lights are found, refused to engage.

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Both parish councils resolved they 'will not adopt, nor take on the management, maintenance or pay the energy costs of existing footway lighting.'

As a result Broadland had to put forward new proposals to prevent the lights going out from April 2018.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday, they voted through cabinet proposals to keep responsibility for footway lights but to cover the shortfall by introducing part-night lighting for new developments, scrapping the annual 'scout round' safety checks, and recharge the remaining expense to residents in each parish.

Those expected to see the biggest rise in their special expense charge will be those in Hellesdon and Drayton, with a rise of up to £4.80 and £3.35 respectively.

Richard Block, head of housing and environmental services for Broadland, told cabinet: 'The two parishes where the majority of the lighting stock is situated had no interest in even discussing

how adequate footway lighting would be maintained for their residents.

'This council is in a situation where the cost outstrips the amount covered by the special expense charge to residents in parishes.'

John Fisher, Environmental Excellence portfolio holder at Broadland District Council, said: 'Throughout this process Broadland District Council has vowed to support the best interests of the local communities.

'It has always been our aim to work towards a situation where the streetlights remain switched on, as that is what is best for our residents. This resolution to continue to manage the streetlights ourselves achieves that.'