Anger over two month wait to turn on single light bulb on Northampton canal bridge

Mark Roberts won his appeal to have streetlights turned back on over the Grand Union Cancal bridge near his home, but eight weeks later and they still haven't been turned on.

Mark Roberts won his appeal to have streetlights turned back on over the Grand Union Cancal bridge near his home, but eight weeks later and they still haven't been turned on.

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THE county council has admitted it was wrong to leave a canal bridge plunged in darkness in a bid to save cash.

Now, two months later, the error has at last been rectified . . . by the switching back on of a single street light.

Mark Roberts, aged 42, has been forced to carry a torch with him when crossing the Grand Union Canal bridge in Towcester Road, Far Cotton, on his way to and from Northampton Station.

The streetlights were axed in September under Northamptonshire County Council’s Switch Off programme to help the authority to cut costs, but Mr Roberts appealed against what he described as a “dangerous” decision.

The council, which conceded to his submission on September 28, following a review, said the issue had been “missed off” in a handover to new streetlighting contractors and had now been made a priority.

Mr Roberts said: “It’s become farcical. They have set three deadlines to complete the work.

“I’ve become really frustrated with the whole situation.

“How could they have come to a decision to turn off all the lights over a canal bridge in the first place?

“It’s dangerous. There has been no forethought. It’s particularly frightening for females having to cross it. I have to carry a torch so I can negotiate the towpath because you really can’t see a thing.

“Due to my job, I know exactly sort of dangers and risks that a situation like that can impose.”

A Freedom of Information Request made by Mr Roberts revealed the council would have saved £1,800 a year by turning off the 12 lights.

Mr Roberts added: “What I can’t understand is that every light further up the road near KFC has been left on.

“If they want to make savings, then turn every-other light off along there.”

A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We’re very grateful to the Chronicle & Echo for bringing this issue to our attention.

“It appears that this appeal outcome was missed off the handover to our new streetlighting contractors.

“We’re very sorry for the mistake. We have put this to the top of the priority list so we can rectify it as soon as possible.”

However, Mr Roberts told the Chron yesterday that only one of 12 lights has been switched back on.