IT’S GOING to be a dark winter for parts of Llanidloes as faulty street lights will not be fixed.
Lights are out in areas like Gwaelod Y Bryn, Gorn Road and even a zebra crossing in the town centre, but Powys County Council has no plans to replace them.
Instead, residents will have to wait until new LED lights are fitted as part of a county-wide upgrade due to be completed by March 2017.
Gareth Morgan, county councillor for Llanidloes, said: “Obviously street lighting needs regular maintenance, light bulbs go and they have technical difficulties.
“But what the council has now decided is that it is no longer going to deal with problems when the lights go out.”
Cllr Morgan also criticised the timing of the upgrade, saying it was dangerous to leave streets in the dark through the long winter nights.
“In my opinion it’s something that could have been done during the spring and summer, when the days are longer,” he said.
“There was an email sent out to members explaining this, basically if you want your lights done – tough.
“I am having complaints from people with serious illnesses, who have nurses and carers coming to their houses, who are all having to grope around in the dark.
“People going to visit friends in the hospital have to cross over the Long Bridge in darkness and they don’t like doing it.”
Cllr Morgan has shared his concerns with cabinet member for highways, Cllr John Brunt, in an email saying: “I am very distressed by your decision to convert street lighting to LED in the winter.
“Vast numbers of lights are waiting to be repaired in my ward, resulting in some areas being left in total darkness throughout the winter.”
Cllr Brunt offered some reassurance that while maintenance on existing lights has been put off, work could be done if several lights are out in one area.
He said: “We are currently upgrading our street lights to new energy efficient LED lanterns on all the street lights that have not previously been converted to LED. The upgrades are part of an Invest to Save project we are undertaking.
“We have taken the decision to hold back on some of the street lighting maintenance as the majority of faulty lights being reported are due to be changed to LED in the forthcoming months and we do not want to double up on the workload.
“We will however still maintain lights that are in a dangerous condition or if there are several lights off in a row.
“Clearly where we have genuine safety-related issues, our street lighting team members will use their discretion in determining the correct action to be taken.
“If a local member has any serious concerns over safety due to a street light not working they should contact the street light department and these will be dealt with appropriately.”
See full story in the County Times