Northampton street light replacements will be 'fewer but better', says borough

Hundreds of street lights will be replaced in Northampton
Hundreds of street lights will be replaced in Northampton

Up to a third of street lights owned by Northampton Borough Council are set to be replaced, with ‘fewer but better’ lights set to follow.

The authority has hired Thorn Electrical Ltd to carry out a full inspection of all street lights in NBC ownership, and the 1,300 street lights have now all been checked.

Rick O’Farrell told councillors on Monday evening: “A third of them are in need of replacement. They aren’t dangerous, but it wouldn’t be economically viable to repair them.

“We are looking at replacing them with fewer but better street lights. So instead of having six on one street, there may be three LEDs that are higher up - they would save on electricity costs.”

Stickers will be placed on the street lights to advise that a programme of replacements will take place in the next financial year, while the council is also set to put together a £900,000 capital programme bid for funding towards the replacement programme.

Mr O’Farrell added that the council had already started design work on the new scheme with consultants, and that those lights that did provide a risk to life are being isolated and made safe.

Councillor Cathrine Russell, who sits on the overview and scrutiny committee that met on Monday, said that the street lighting in the town was ‘appalling’ and that she sometimes felt ‘vulnerable’ because of it.

A report seen by the councillors stated that the high numbers needing to be replaced was ‘due to a poor maintenance regime in the past’. However, a number of street lights are also owned by the county council.

Councillor Zoe Smith, who also sits on the committee, added: “We need to make sure that we make it clear that this is an improvement, rather than people panicking about there being fewer street lights.”

A paper is expected to be produced in the next 16 weeks that will consider the type of lights to be installed, with a view to reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs’.