Guest column: Street lighting is not an expendable luxury

Coun Paul Key, Lincolnshire County Council
Coun Paul Key, Lincolnshire County Council

Two months ago I was elected to represent Gainsborough Trent Division on Lincolnshire County Council.

Since then I have undergone the extensive training given to new councillors.

Attending council and committee meetings is also an education.

I am a member of the vulnerable adults and adult social care committee with the biggest budget of any committee, more than £350 million.

During the summer the issue of selective switching out of street lights may not be uppermost in many councillors minds.

I discovered that some county councillors think keeping lights on at night is a luxury.

At a committee meeting I attended, one Lincoln councillor, who had previously campaigned to keep street lights on, stated that his constituents are now happy with the decision to put lights out at night and there is no case to ever switch them on again.

To say this opinion made me unhappy is an understatement.

However as I am not a member of that committee I was not able to tell them how one Gainsborough resident had a caravan stolen in the dark of night and how residents have told me of other offences in the pitch dark .

I urge readers report any criminal activity to the police so at the very least it will be added to the crime statistics and strengthen the case for lights returning especially when the mornings become dark again.

One good result is that the council’s scrutiny panel is to review how the decision to switch out lights was made and wether all the various requirements for light switch outs had been met.

It also amazes me that the A631, which passes through Gainsborough and connects us to both the coast and the A1, is not considered to be a strategic road by the council.

While the council express the desire to expand our town’s economy they do nothing to improve this road along which goods and people need to travel to boost our town.

Neither has the council been proactive in securing improvements to our railways.

GRaB, Gainsborough’s rail and bus campaign group, was instrumental in the recent formation of the North Notts and Lincs Community Rail Partnership and I will encourage the council to play a proactive role as a member of the partnership.

August is a quiet month for politicians.

However, readers can rest assured I will not spend the month at a sun-soaked holiday resort but will continue to be in Gainsborough working for the benefit of residents.