Fortnight’s wait for street lights

A HAWICK councillor has given a gloomy assessment of a street in his home town which will be left in darkness for a further two weeks.

Stuart Marshall has approached Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to ask for a speedy solution after lights on Chay Blyth Place were removed because of safety fears.

However, because of legislation, SBC cannot erect temporary lights while permanent replacements are sought for at least a fortnight.

In the meantime, the street will be left in darkness, prompting fears from Councillor Marshall for pensioners living on the Burnfoot road.

He said: “Firstly, I was told that utility companies were holding things up in Chay Blyth Place, then last week I was told it was all down to budgetary pressures [at SBC].

“But to have street lighting columns taken down without a clear indication of how and when they will be replaced is, in this day and age, simply appalling. Street lighting is in my mind a key front-line service.

“The residents in this street – many elderly -– deserve to be treated much better than this.

“To date, certain areas are still without street lights and some residents are finding it difficult to negotiate steps adjacent to their homes but most importantly they just don’t feel safe and this is clearly unacceptable.”

An SBC spokesman said the lighting was removed because lamp posts were “structurally dangerous” and could have caused serious injury to passers-by.

He said: “This whole area is included in SBC’s public lighting improvement plan.

“However, it will take several phases to complete due to the capital budget allocation.

“We will install a temporary solution until the new works begin. Due to legislation, it takes 28 working days to get the public utility details.

“Once this has been processed, the temporary works will proceed.”