Wiltshire

Unused road in Swindon has £300 monthly lighting bill

Street lights costing more than £300 a month are operating along a Swindon road even though it is not yet open to the public.

The Conservative-led Swindon Borough Council said the new road linking Croft Road and Wootton Bassett Road was lit up to test road safety.

It had planned to switch off the 140 lights but a delay with equipment means it is cheaper to keep them on, it said.

In July, the council switched off 433 lights to save £20,000 a year.

'Delays and snags'

The council is waiting for delivery of a switch to turn off all the lights in one go, otherwise they need switching off individually, which is more expensive.

Alternatively, a hole would need to be dug to disconnect the whole electrical circuit.

A spokesman for the council said: "The lamps are not on during the day as they have light-sensitive switches on each column and only come on when it is dark, but clearly we'd rather not be paying to light a road that's not being used.

"It is frustrating, but with big projects like this delays and snags are inevitable, and this is one of them."

The road runs from the junction at Croft Road to Wootton Bassett Road on the new Wichelstowe housing estate which is currently under development.

The leader of the Labour Party at the council, Jim Grant, said: "The council should not be leaving street lights on for no reason, wasting hundreds of pounds each month.

"What is even more galling about this is that there are people in Swindon who are having their street lights switched off in order for the council to make savings, so it seems ridiculous that these street lights are being left on."

The council has 26,000 street lights, which costs about £600,000 a year in electricity bills.

In August, 44 of the 433 lights that were turned off were switched back on to improve safety.

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