Torbay street lights switched off to save council £8.5m

Image caption,
Mr Bye told BBC News, a quarter of street lights will remain on.

Street lights will be switched off and CCTV monitored only during busy periods in Torbay after councillors agreed to savings of £8.5m.

Cuts to bus company subsidies and a £1m cut to children's services had been approved at a council meeting earlier this month.

Despite criticism of the mayor's budget, it was narrowly voted in.

Independent mayor Nick Bye said all of the authority's frontline services were being kept.

The savings amount to about 6% of the current council budget.

Leader of the council's Conservative group Gordon Oliver said: "We are disappointed that we didn't win our vote to maintain a CCTV system, and that our support for keeping the street lights on were defeated."

Mr Bye said: "One-in-four street lights will remain on between 0000 GMT and 0500 GMT in the residential areas".

"Our main town centres, principal highways - the street lights will stay on right the way through," he added.

Hold reserves

The Conservative group had wanted the council to spend some of the authority's £4.5m reserves and minimise the cuts.

Mr Bye said it was "not sustainable to go into reserves".

"We are not hitting the reserves and the need for them will be greater as the years go by," he added.

The council, which has a Conservative majority is facing a 28% reduction in its government grant over the next four years.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Darling said he had "grave concerns" about the £320k cuts to bus company subsides and the £1m cut to children's services.

Mr Bye said: "We are keeping the frontline services, delivering services to the most vulnerable, concentrating on economic regeneration and it will be a balanced, sustainable budget."

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