Lights out as part of cost cutting drive

Large swathes of the Eastbourne area will be plunged into darkness during the early hours as the local authority tries to save cash by switching off street lights.

East Sussex County Council revealed this week that it plans to turn off street lamps between 12.30am and 5.30am in a host of residential roads and estates while dimming lights on main roads across the county.

Officials say the measures will help cut the council’s electricity bill and will see the number of lights on in those early morning hours reduced by as much as 50 per cent.

Some lights will also be replaced with lower wattage, more energy efficient bulbs as councillors try to earmark tens of millions of pounds of spending cuts over the next three years.

A similar scheme in nearby Seaford saw residents oppose the plans amid fears it would make streets less safe during the nightly switch-off, but since being rolled out there have been few complaints.

Now the county council wants to replicate that model elsewhere – including locally in both Polegate and Willingdon, with the possibility more streets could be added if it proves a success.

A loss of lighting in Polegate will affect the Sayerland Estate, including School Lane and Greenleaf Gardens, and the Western Avenue and Southern Avenue estate area, with residents living in streets including in the scheme due to receive a letter through the post this week asking them to take part in the consultation.

Locals in Willingdon are also being given the chance to let the council know what they think about the plans. A consultation event is being held tomorrow (Saturday) at Trinity Church Hall between 9am and 12noon and anyone who would like to find out more – and whether their road will be affected – is encouraged to attend.

Councillor Carl Maynard, the authority’s head of economy, transport and environment, said, “We know local people are likely to have comments, so we are asking local people to tell us your views.

“The pilot schemes in other areas seem to have been well received by residents and businesses in the area, and the local police say there has been no increase in incidents reported to them.

“We know each town or village will have different needs, so it is really important you come along, look at the proposals and talk through your concerns or issues with our staff.”

Comment forms will also be available at Polegate council offices and Polegate Library.