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Consultation on plans to switch off Fenland lights

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Fenland residents are being invited to have their say as part of the next phase of community engagement around plans to dim or turn off some streetlights at certain times.

Cambridgeshire County Council has to find more than £100 million in savings over the next five years due to squeezing budgets.

The council is looking to turn off or dimmed street lights, which should save around £272,000 from an annual cost of over £1.1m a year.

It is proposing to increase its current period of street light dimming from 8pm or 10pm until 6am or turning off lights on main traffic routes from midnight until 6am. Areas with CCTV or support the night-time economy will be excluded.

A consultation has already started with parish, town, district and city councils to explain the proposals for their areas.

The authority is also looking to hold a wider community engagement and answer session in October.

Roger Hickford, Chairman of the county’s Highways and Community Committee, said: “The council is facing a reduction of more than £100 million in its budget over the next five years. In an ideal world, we would not of course want to make these cuts and ideally would keep lighting on all night.

“However, with all indications suggesting the main Government grant will be reduced to nothing in the next few years it has never been more important that public funds are used where they are most effective.

“More than 60 other authorities, including almost every one of our neighbouring councils have already turned off or dimmed lighting and we will learn from them. But the indications are that this has not had an adverse impact on crime or safety.

“However, we do understand local concerns and have been looking at how a scheme could work in Cambridgeshire and what local solutions may be possible. We have had useful conversations with local councils and will move to the next phase of community engagement over the plans and answer questions on proposals.”

Wisbech Town Council is currently running a consultation with residents to see if they are willing to pay £17,043 to keep the lights burning.

Options in the town council survey are: turning the lights off; turn the lights off for a trial period of 12 months; pay to keep the lights on; or not bothered. The survey deadline for responses in Friday, September 25.

Send your response to the town council at its offices in North Brink or email: clerk@wisbechtowncouncil.org.uk

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