Essex

Burnham-on-Crouch street light turned on after seven-year wait

Streetlight
Image caption A street light in Essex was installed seven years ago but never turned on - until now

Seven years of councils wrangling over who should pay to power a street light have ended thanks to a solar solution.

The light, which was installed on Foundry Lane, Burnham-on-Crouch, was never turned on as the cost of connecting it was deemed too high.

The town council has now voted to spend £1,000 on solar panels for the light - and £80 a year in cleaning costs.

Residents described it as a "godsend" on a "pitch-black" path leading to the town's railway station.

"The original plan went as far as us erecting the post and us paying £750 a year [for electricity]," said mayor Bob Calvar.

"But the plan didn't connect it to the mains, and that was a mistake. The original quote from Essex County Council to connect it up was £4,000 to £5,000."

Maldon District Council, on whose land the connection would have been made, said it would have been happy for Essex County Council to hook it up, but believed the cost should have been paid by Burnham-on-Crouch Town Council "who originally requested the street light to be installed".

Image caption Burnham resident Sarah Warren said she was "over the moon" that the light had finally been switched on

"The bureaucracy was idiotic - I cannot understand why they put a lamp up with no power to it," said Burnham resident Sarah Warren, 52.

"My mother is wheelchair-bound, so when we have to come across the crossing at night or during the winter evenings, there's absolutely no light at all.

"It is absolutely pitch dark - there are no street lights round here either side of the path, so this is an absolute godsend."

Mr Calvar said the solar panels were a positive step for all involved.

"We've found a new solution that wasn't available when the light was first installed seven years ago," he said.

"It has the advantage of being affordable and green, and we don't have to wait any longer for a solution."

Image caption Solar panels have now been installed to power the light

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