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Councillor blasts 'horrendous' plans to turn off more Wirral streetlights
A SENIOR Wirral councillor has blasted the borough's highway chiefs after what he uncovered what he describes as 'horrendous' proposals to switch off more street lights on some of Wirral’s busiest roads.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Stuart Kelly hit out at the council after he obtained a 'hit list' of roads which could see alternate lights turned off.
Oxton ward member Cllr Kelly obtained the list, of what he said was made up of mainly busy main roads, after an email exchange between highway chiefs.
The roads under threat include Woodchurch Road and Borough Road in Birkenhead, Rake Lane in Liscard and New Brighton, Leasowe Road in Leasowe and New Chester Road, which goes through Birkenhead, Bromborough and Eastham.
Cllr Kelly warned that turning alternate lights off on such roads could put the public at serious risk.
He said: "This is a horrendous hit list of busy main roads threatened with reduced street lighting, it is also a list that has been hidden from residents until now.
"It's time the council admitted failure with this policy. Back in the summer I exposed how the council had wilfully ignored risk assessments and police advice for lighting of pedestrian routes where they had turned off the lights."
The council backtracked on plans to turn off lights on some roads earlier this year after Cllr Kelly's discovery but he believes the new hit list will cause further concerns over road safety.
He said: "Wirral does not have the technology to dim or switch lights off for short periods in the dead of night like other authorities, here on Wirral they just pull out the fuse and leave pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to cope alone in the dark."
Wirral Council's leader, Cllr Phil Davies, is currently considering reducing the number of hours the borough's street lights are switched off, following letters from concerned people.
But Cllr Harry Smith, cabinet member for streetscene and transport services, said the £85,000 savings achieved by switching off certain street lights were part of a £22m cuts package forced on the local authority this year by the governing coalition.
He said: "The economies must hit somewhere. It is not something we want to do, but we are forced to do it because of our financial situation."
The roads included on the street lights 'hit list' are:
- Woodchurch Road, Prenton. Telegraph Road, Heswall.
- Leasowe Road, Leasowe.
- Hoylake Road, Moreton.
- Borough Road, Birkenhead.
- New Chester Road, Birkenhead, Bebington, Bromborough and Eastham.
- Pensby Road, Thingwall, Pensby and Heswall.
- Grove Road, Wallasey Village.
- Rake Lane, Liscard and New Brighton.
- Birkenhead Road and Market Street, Hoylake.
- Meols Drive, Hoylake and West Kirby.
- Grange Road, West Kirby.
- Column Road, Caldy and West Kirby.
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