Out of the darkness – Hartlepool council chief says new ‘dim’ street lighting will be reviewed

Councillor Geoff Lilley with one of the new street lights
Councillor Geoff Lilley with one of the new street lights

AN UNDER-fire council chief has reassured residents that new LED street lighting will be reviewed after complaints over the low level of light they give.

Residents from the Fens, Owton Manor and Burn Valley areas of Hartlepool told of their fears for public safety and increased crime following the introduction of the new lighting by Hartlepool Borough Council.

All of Hartlepool’s 13,644 street lights are being replaced with the new LED lamps in a £5 million scheme to save the council £270,000 a year in energy bills and maintenance.

But a number of residents complained at a recent council Neighbourhood Forum that the new lamps are too dim.

Councillor Peter Jackson, who is chair of Neighbourhood Services, accepted some areas were experiencing a “zebra” effect, with dark areas between lampposts, and promised surveys would be carried out to see if any further work is needed.

Burn Valley resident Evelyn Leck told the forum: “To me it’s a mugger’s paradise.

“I know the council is trying to save money and I understand that but I think people’s health and welfare need to come first.”

And Manor House resident Frank Sowerby said Masefield Road had been left “absolutely pitch black” following the installation of the new light bulbs.

Mr Sowerby said: “I don’t think the savings are worth the risk to people’s health.

“Elderly people are going to be tripping over.”

Coun Jackson said some of the lampposts are up to 30 years old and follow-up surveys will be carried out to make sure the level of light is up to standard.

He said: “We will deal with the black spots on roads and paths if they aren’t at the standard they should be.

“There might be a short period between installation and the survey where we get some dark spots but we are going to be dealing with them.”

Fens and Rossmere councillor Geoff Lilley, who has been contacted by numerous residents, also told the meeting: “The main worry is it is going to lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Barry and Ann Muller, of Kesteven Road, on the Fens, voiced their concerns in the Mail earlier this week about the new LED lights outside their home.

Coun Jackson added that the town’s Community Safety Team could visit people’s homes to offer advice but said feedback from other residents in Owton Manor had been positive.