Concern over replacement of traditional street lights in Eastbourne

Residents are concerned traditional gas-style street lights which have been around for more than a century are going to be removed from their road.

Works by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and a contractor began before Christmas to replace some of the lampposts in Upper Dukes Drive but Meads resident Jonathan Smith says he was shocked he had had no warning of the project.

Mr Smith said, “It strikes me they are just ripping out something that’s been there since 1910 without consulting with anybody. It shocks me. They were put in by the same people that built this street.”

The 53-year-old, who has lived on the road for 16 years, says the set of three much-loved old-fashioned lights have been looked after by residents for many years, and were last upgraded sympathetically in 2014.

He said, “It’s part of the character of the street and the area. I don’t see why you can’t preserve the old lights. It’s just ridiculous.”

Meads councillor Kathy Ballard has criticised the county council for not giving residents ‘adequate notice’ of the work.

She said, “Upper Dukes Drive is a sensitive area because it falls just beyond the Meads Conservation Area and on the edge of the South Downs National Park.

“ESCC’s policy in conservation areas is that, where sensitive lamppost replacement is intended, they must consult the borough council for any extra funds required for non-standard lamppost replacement.

“I am sure the borough council would welcome the opportunity to influence the preservation of the heritage street scene in this case.

“The question that needs to be asked is that if ESCC has reduced its services to the minimum legal provision, why are they spending money on non-essential works that upset the local residents?”

An ESCC spokesperson said the project is in its early stages and work stopped for the Christmas break.

The work, they said, is being carried out because the streetlights and columns do not meet current regulations.

The county council’s website says the position of some street lights may change and ‘every effort’ will be made to locate the new columns on boundaries between properties, at the back of footways and clear of access ways.

Visit eastsussexhighways.com for more information.