Hundreds sign petition against charge to switch on street lights

Campaigner Sean Brennan (left), with the Mayor, Coun Richard Craig (centre), and Coun David Dobbie.
Campaigner Sean Brennan (left), with the Mayor, Coun Richard Craig (centre), and Coun David Dobbie.

Hundreds of furious residents have signed a petition opposing plans to levy a charge to switch street lights back on in parts of Gainsborough.

The petition stems from a survey organised by Liberal Democrats in the town, with the backing of the Mayor, Coun Richard Craig, and also Coun David Dobbie.

Campaigner Sean Brennan said: “The response has demonstrated the level of anger this initiative has created.

“We were approached by so many residents who voiced their concerns about being charged twice for such a basic amenity, given that they already pay council tax.”

Lincolnshire County Council caused huge controversy in 2016 when switching off more than half of the county’s 68,000 street lights in a bid to save £1.7 million. At present, those lights are off from midnight until dawn.

Now the council has proposed a scheme whereby the lights can go back on if parish councils or individuals fork out £300 per light.

Mr Brennan added: “With this survey, we hope to force the council to listen to the people and come to the table to discuss this issue.”

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways at the council, said: “There’s no evidence that Lincolnshire has become any less safe as a result of the switch-off. So it’s difficult to justify taking money away from other vital services to turn the lights back on overnight.

“However, we realise some people may still be nervous, and we are sympathetic to that. So we have developed a protocol that will give local communities the opportunity to pay for street lights to be left on all night, if they so choose.”