Lib Dems accuse county Tories of abandoning Towcester over street lights

MCBW - 17-06-11 - Street Lights - close up
MCBW - 17-06-11 - Street Lights - close up

County hall Conservatives have been accused of abandoning Towcester with no new streets lights expected to be installed before September 2013.

Last year Northants Councty Council switched off half the street lights in the county to save £2million and then signed a Private Finance Initiative with Balfour Beauty to replace the remaining lights with energy efficient versions which are cheaper to maintain.

But this week Towcester’s Lib Dem county councillor Chris Lofts said he fears Towcester will one of the last places in the county to get the new lights.

In a statement Mr Lofts said Northampton, Corby, Kettering and Daventry have had new lights but added: “This is disappointing news as it means Towcester will be left in the dark for yet another year.

”When the Conservatives at County Hall announced the switch off in 2011 they promised new lights would be installed. “Now they seem to have placed Towcester right down the bottom of the queue. This is yet another example of how Tories have abandoned Towcester.”

A spokesman for NCC said the roll out programme is not based on geography but on practicality and added: “The switch off was carried by district and borough. But the PFI replacement programme will be carried out around more general maintenance work. If Highways are carrying out work it makes sence for Balfour Beauty to be in the same place at the same time. So they might replace lights on several street on one particular town, then move to another.”

Nick King of Towcester Neighbourhood watch said he is still speaking to him about the lack of street lighting, but recognised the PFI is a five year programme.

He added: “September 2013 is not really that far away, but I am glad they are continuing with programme. I just hope there will be a mechanism for community involvment when they do arrive to ensure things like the NW signs are removed from the old columns and put on the new ones.”