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March cul-de-sac is a 'black hole'

Residents of a Fenland cul-de-sac are threatening to withhold their Council Tax unless action is taken to replace street lights.

Pat O'Connor describes The Birches in March as a 'black hole' and said none of the nine street lights are currently working.

But he said the council is refusing to help because the residential development, which was built around 14 years ago, is on an unadopted road.

Pat O'connor The Birches in March - they have no street lights. (22456957)
Pat O'connor The Birches in March - they have no street lights. (22456957)

He said: "I have tried talking to the local councillor, and contacting Fenland Council, but can't seem to get anywhere.

"There are nine street lights, and not one of them works. The last two went out last year and we have been left in the dark since then. I have been told it will cost around £1,085 to replace the bulbs, but Balfour Beatty, who looks after the street lights for the council won't come and do it because the road is unadopted.

"I'm not sure why after 14 years the road has not been adopted and is still private. There is a mixture of people living here, we have some young families as well as older people, and we have to leave our outside lights on so residents can see where they are going.

"I've seen the council is spending £90,000 on a new skate park for the children in March, but they are not prepared to spend £1,085 to help us and we pay our Council Tax.

"Unless they do something to help then we will withhold some of our Council Tax as a protest. I don't think it is too much to ask, all we want is nine new light bulbs fitting - £1,085 is a pittance compared to the amount we pay. My Council Tax bill alone is £1,200 a year.

"This time of year we are left in the dark from about 4.30pm and that is wrong."

However, a spokesman for Fenland District Council said: "I’ve looked into the street light issue at The Birches and can confirm we don’t maintain/manage any of the street lights there.

"The road is unadopted and therefore, unless the developer is still liable for any of the maintenance, the maintenance responsibilities for the road, footpaths, street lights etc rest with those who live there. There is no legal requirement for a council to provide street lighting and in this case, FDC would not ordinarily be the first point of call.

"The residents could contact Cambridgeshire County Council, in its capacity as the Local Highways Authority, to discuss if there is any scope for the road to be adopted in the future. The county council would not rectify the street light faults for free, but may offer to do the works if paid for by the residents (this may be where the quoted figure of £1,085 has come from as our assets team is not aware of it)."

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