Would you pay more to have street lights switched back on in Skegness?

Coun Danny Brookes addresses Skegness Town Council with his motion on street lights.
Coun Danny Brookes addresses Skegness Town Council with his motion on street lights.

The new line-ip of councillors have pledged to make residents' lives better - and that includes revisiting concerns about street lighting being switched off overnight.

A motion was proposed by Coun Danny Brookes to explore the cost of the 1,707 lights operated by Lincolnshire County Council remaining on all night at last week's Skegness Town Council meeting.

This was the first full town council meeting with Coun Mark Dannatt as Mayor since Skegness Urban District Society took political control following the elections - and the gallery was full of residents eager to see how they did.

Coun Brookes said: "We as a council need to find out the full cost of switching lights back on and what it means to our residents. We should explore every avenue to make our residents' lives a little better."

However, in spite of accepting there was a fear of crime in the darkness, police continue to maintain there is no evidence of a crime hike relating to Lincolnshire County Council's cost-cutting policy to switch town centre street lights off between 12pm and 6am.

Insp Matt Bennison told councillors: "We expect there to be an increase in crime at this time of the year when there are more people staying along the coast but there is still no evidence this is connected to the lights situation. Once we have the relevant data I will be able to share it with you."

Coun Mark Anderson was in favour of the lights being switched on, but not if it would mean a further burden on the purse of ratepayers, who are already "struggling to pay rising bills".

"Only recently there was a serious fire during the night at a property near me and I and other residents in the street were running around with torches and phones trying to locate the fire hydrants for the Fire Brigade," he said.

"That was unacceptible. Minutes cost lives."

However, Coun Daniel Kirk pointed out that fire engines now have telescopic lights fitted, so lack of street lights was not a factor.

Coun Steve Kirk warned the council was going over old ground discussing this and Lincolnshire County Council had been approached two years ago about the issue.

"We need to decide where were are going with this," he said. "For instance, if switching the streets light back on means a rise in rates, will we be holding a referendum."

Lincolnshire County Council are responsible for all the lights in Skegness, except those on the front, which are run by East Lindsey District Council;.

The cost of LCC lights staying on all night would be t £512,000 for 20 years, payed upfront.

Coun Kirk said this would involve £86,000 to replace the photo cells which cannot be reprogrammed to override them being switched off.

However, Coun Brookes said the council would not be looking at paying 20 years up front. He said: "No businessman would pay 20 years up front - a lot can happen in that time. Anyone who made you do that would be a scam."

Coun Bob Walker, who seconded the motion, said: "At this stage we are merely exploring with the county council what the cost would be."

The motion asks:

1) How many LCC street lights are there in Skegness and Winthorpe (parish boundary) and of these how many are switched off overnight?

2) What would be the cost of switching all the lights back on during maintenance or outside sheduled maintenance

3) Can it be confirmed that this is for a 20 year period?

4) Could there be a payment plan?

5) Is there an option to have the lights on for an extra hour at night in support of the night-time economy and prior to dawn for those leaving early for work and if so how much would this be?

l6) When is the next planned maintenance schedule?

The motion was carried with Coun Mark Anderson abstaining.