A SELF-EMPLOYED valeter has claimed he crashed into a telegraph pole because the light from a new LED street lamp was too dim for him to see properly.
Gavin Middleton had dropped his friend off at home in Ibrox Grove, Owton Manor, Hartlepool, when he reversed to head out of the street in his silver X-registration Vauxhall Astra.
But while carrying out the manoeuvre the 27-year-old, who lives on the Fens in Hartlepool, says he failed to see a brown wooden telegraph pole behind his car because it was too dark.
Gavin says the incident happened because the light coming from a street lamp a short distance away, which has recently been fitted with a new energy-saving LED bulb by Hartlepool Borough Council as part of a multi-million lamp replacement scheme, was not bright enough.
But council bosses disagree with the claim and say the newly-fitted lights are bright enough.
Also several councils have now completed the roll-out of part-night lighting, where lights are turned off between midnight and 5am, but this was not something Hartlepool council chiefs were happy to consider.
Gavin who told the Mail that the force of the collision, which happened around 9.30pm on Tuesday, October 14, has left his boot dented.
Gavin contacted the council to report the incident and to ask for advice on potential compensation for the repair of his boot, but he was told that financial redress would not be possible.
He is furious about the situation and believes the council should either replace the light so it is as bright as what it used to be, or paint the dark brown-colored telegraph poles in a bright colour so drivers “stand half a chance” of seeing them.
“I was dropping my mate off in Ibrox Grove and I went to turn around in the parking space and I hit a telegraph pole,” he said. “I just simply didn’t see it because it was too dark.
“These new lights just make the streets look darker. If you’re stood directly under one looking up at it, then its quite dazzling and bright, but they don’t cast the light very far at all so it’s just pitch black.
“Everyone’s complaining about them.”
He added: “I’ve been driving for nine years, so it’s not like I’m a new driver or anything.
“I think they should pay for the repair to my boot and they should either replace the lights so they’re as bright as what they used to be, or paint the telegraph poles yellow or white or something.”
A council spokesman said: “The new street lights provide a bright cone effect, ensuring roads and footpaths are lit to the correct standard.
“We believe the lamp posts on Ibrox Grove are well illuminated as a result of the directional nature of the new lights.
“Hartlepool Borough Council takes residents comments seriously and we respond promptly and appropriately to any comments and complaints.”