Essex council had 'no budget to switch on street lamp'

An Essex council has apologised after a £1,000 street lamp had to be left disconnected - because there was no available cash to turn it on.

The lamp in St Faith Road, Colchester, was installed by Essex County Council in March after an existing light failed a safety test.

The installation was paid for using last year's budget but the connection fee will come from the 2012/13 budget.

The Conservative-run council said the street lamp would be connected in July.

Colchester Borough Council Liberal Democrat member for the area Paul Smith criticised the "sheer waste".

He said: "It is totally stupid that the lamp came out of last year's budget but connecting it comes out of this year's budget.

"It means one contractor turns up to fit the street light and another comes to connect it up."

A spokesman for the county council said: "We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused while the light was not connected.

"The lamp column was installed on 20 March, using money from the last financial year.

"The remaining electrical work is scheduled for early July, and the light will be operational after this.

"It costs approximately £1,100 to install a lamp column, including the electrical works."

The light is expected to be on in time for the opening of the new 66-bedroom St Fillan Care Home in neighbouring St Fillan Road, which owners Excelcare say will take its first residents in six to eight weeks' time.

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