Cambridgeshire’s U-turn on school crossing and street lights

Gazette - streets lights out, Nora Grace Hall car park, Tring, Lower Car Park PNL-151011-085327009
Gazette - streets lights out, Nora Grace Hall car park, Tring, Lower Car Park PNL-151011-085327009
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Councillors have made a U-turn on plans to axe lollipop patrols.

And street lights across Cambridgeshire will stay on until 2am.

Cambridgeshire County Council was considering cutting or reducing both services to save money – but both have been taken off the agenda following public outcry.

The council was looking to find £41 million worth of savings this year but following on from recent Government announcements has seen this rise to £52 million.

On Tuesday the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee voted to remove school crossing patrols from the budget-saving proposals being recommended to the General Purposes Committee.

Committee chairman Roger Hickford said: “We need time to consider this and get it right, and so we agreed to remove school crossing patrols from our budget-savings proposals.

“This is just one example of how members have listened to our residents to keep a service which is a vital part of their community.”

But members have recommended reducing winter maintenance on the highways, including gritting, to save £650,000 – along with withdrawing funding from libraries and reducing non-statutory concessionary fares. These proposals could save £5.2 million.

The council was also considering switching off street lights at midnight, which would have saved £260,000 from an annual cost of over £1.4m a year.

But the committee made the decision to keep the lights on until 2am.

Councillors also heard around nine councils have come forward to offer to fund the lights staying on after the proposed switch-off time.

The committee heard the changed time means the Council would have to find an extra £98,000 from efficiencies.

Cllr Hickford said: “Not only do we hope this helps reduce some concerns but also aids other councils coming forward to find local funding solutions for their areas.

“We have been working closely with authorities across Cambridgeshire to find solutions and welcome the offers we have had.”