Lights at the end of tunnel in Stirches

Scottish Borders Council has vowed to replace street lights in Stirches which one woman claims have made her a “prisoner” in her own home.

The local authority has promised that they will urgently repair several lighting columns which they removed on safety grounds from Guthrie Drive in the summer - but which with the arrival of the darker nights, has created fear amongst residents.

Grandmother Nancy Aitken is one of those worst affected with three lights removed from directly outside her property, and she has admitted to feeling fearful at night. She told the Hawick News: “It’s so dark outside my house now that I do feel scared. I feel like a prisoner in my home because I don’t want to go out, and I’m also worried about people coming to my door.”

Indeed Mrs Aitken, who lives alone, went on: “The other night my grandson came to the door and I refused to open it until I knew it was him, that’s how bad it is. And I’m dreading the clocks going back, it’s going to get worse.”

Mrs Aitken has strongly criticised SBC for failing to respond to her complaints. Indeed local Councillor Stuart Marshall has also received a high number of calls from the area, and he too says he has run out of patience. “At the moment I have residents tripping and falling when out walking, and on Monday night there was a near miss with a motorist who didn’t see a pedestrian trying to cross the road”, he stated. “This is simply not good enough, and removing these lighting columns on safety grounds is absolutely ridiculous, as all SBC has done is create more issues.”

Councillor Stuart Marshall says officials have blamed a high workload, but he has requested that Stirches is a priority. However, after being contacted by the Hawick News, a spokesman said: “As a result of corrosion a number of street light columns in Guthrie Drive were deemed to be in a dangerous condition and cut down on the grounds of safety. However, replacements are due to be put in place next week. We apologise for the inconvenience.”