Wirral Council U-turn over street light blackout hailed 'victory for people-power' (From Wirral Globe)
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Wirral Council U-turn over street light blackout hailed 'victory for people-power'
A U-TURN over switching off the lights on a busy Wirral road has been welcomed as a victory for people-power.
Wirral Council leader Phil Davies ruled this week to withdraw a cabinet decision to turn off street lights along North Wallasey Approach Road.
A blackout had been imposed on the busy highway in a bid to cut costs.
The leader’s change of heart came after he consulted with police over safety fears.
Councillor Davies said alternate lights would be switched back on, and blackouts on other routes, including the Bidston Bypass, will be reviewed.
Wallasey Conservative councillor Leah Fraser campaigned with householders to see street lighting returned.
She said: “I welcome this U-turn, but why has it taken so long?
“What was the council thinking of plunging us into darkness on some of the most crash-prone roads on Wirral?
“The taxpayers of Wirral can congratulate themselves on having more sense than the cabinet.
“Thank you to all those members of the public who insisted on being heard.
“They can congratulate themselves on persuading the so-called ‘political elite’ at the council into thinking again and reversing this decision.”
Oxton Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly said he looks forward to the blackout being abandoned across the borough.
He said: “This is a move in the right direction.
“I am pleased Phil Davies has again over-ruled councillor Harry Smith (highways cabinet member) and ordered street lighting to be restored.
"However I still feel he could go further.
“Alternate switch-offs will still leave areas of darkness and potential danger on this route and the others - so I look forward to him abandoning the policy completely following his review with police.”
Councillor Davies said: “Taking account of the need to highlight junctions, we will move to an arrangement of alternate lights being switched on.
“This will ensure a balance between energy cost savings being made and the concerns of road users.
“I have asked officers to look further at opportunities to reduce lighting on other routes – without switching off all lights – to address the reduction in savings resulting from this review.”
The council backtracked on plans to turn off lights on some pedestrianised walkways earlier this year after it was discovered it had not considered risk assessments and advice from police.
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