STREET lights in Chay Blyth Place, which were controversially removed earlier this month, have been swiftly replaced by Scottish Borders Council, writes Sarah Williamson.
Elderly resident were left in the dark and forced to use torches after SBC’s sudden removal of “structurally dangerous” lighting columns, and, due to budget allocation, the local authority was unable to confirm when an improved lighting plan would be put in place.
But following uproar among residents and complaints from ward councillor Stuart Marshall, the council has erected temporarily lighting.
With the work being carried out well within the earliest estimate of 28 working days to allow for public utility paperwork, Councillor Marshall said: “When SBC began to dismantle several street lighting columns in Chay Blyth Place without a single thought as to when new ones would finally be erected, the residents were absolutely right to bring it to my attention.
“And it’s fantastic news that SBC seems to have moved with great speed since residents voiced their anger. One very elderly resident called me to say that at night he feels much safer already.”
And alluding to the fact that the lighting was removed without warning, Mr Marshall added: “I hope lessons have been learned, and that before the removal of any columns in the future, a plan is put in place to inform those who will be affected, by at least dropping a leaflet through their doors explaining why they have taken away their street lights, but most importantly, when they will be replaced.”
A council spokesperson confirmed: “Temporary lighting columns have been erected in the same locations as the columns which were removed after they became structurally defective. The initial timescale given for this replacement work took account of the statutory period allowed for utility companies to provide information regarding existing underground apparatus. This information, however, became available earlier than the usual 28-day period – and that’s why the works were completed earlier.”