Street lights near Ellesmere to come down as grant is refused
Street lights on main roads in villages near Ellesmere are to be taken down after the parish council was refused a grant from a house building fund.
Ellesmere Rural Parish Council is spending £38,000 on footway lighting improvements across the area and had also wanted to extend the project to bring the lighting on the A495 Ellesmere to Whittington Road at Welsh Frankton and the B5068 Ellesmere to St Martins Road at Dudleston Heath, up to highways street lighting standards.
It had applied to Shropshire Council for a grant from its Community Infrastructure Levy local fund – money received from local new housing developments – so the street lights could be included in the scheme.
The unitary authority turned down the application and the parish council now says it has no alternative than to remove those lights on safety grounds.
Both are close to where new homes have recently been built.
Parish council chairman John Baker, said: “It has become necessary for Ellesmere Rural Parish Council to make the difficult decision, that on safety grounds, it will need to remove lighting from the main roads as, in many cases, these are very old fittings and connections fixed to telegraph poles making them a safety risk.
“It is a highly regrettable action which could be avoided by Shropshire Council releasing a small proportion of money that it has collected from local developments.”
Councillors say the costly footway lighting provided by the parish dates from the 1950s and 1960s and investing money in new LED lighting for key pedestrian areas would improve lighting and provide long-term savings.
Councillor Baker said the council had made two bids for CIL local funding, which is held by Shropshire Council, which would have been used to make improvements to the lighting along the A and B Class roads which could then have been transferred to Shropshire Highways.
"The failure of Shropshire Council to approve use of its CIL Local funds to support the essential infrastructure improvement is a serious concern for the Parish Council," he said.
"Shropshire Council is being unreasonable in refusing to spend its CIL Local funds on the lighting improvements when the new developments have increased demands on the highway in the areas concerned."
“We have experienced increasing difficulties and costs in maintaining our lighting in recent years and the Council has been saving for a number of years towards funding this lighting scheme in areas including Tetchill and Dudleston Heath
“It is regrettable that Shropshire Council continues to resist spending its CIL Local money on locally identified priority improvement schemes, for which Town and Parish Councils have made requests."
He said that since 2012, Shropshire Council had collected over £328,000 in CIL Local funds in the Ellesmere Rural Parish and has not spent any of it.
"It has become necessary for Ellesmere Rural Parish Council to make the difficult decision, that on safety grounds, it will need to remove lighting from the main roads as, in many cases, these are very old fittings and connections fixed to telegraph poles, making them a safety risk. "It is a highly regrettable action which could be avoided by Shropshire Council releasing a small proportion of money that it has collected from local developments.”