Rye facing black-out due to council cuts

STREETS at Tilling Green and in Rye’s Citadel area will be plunged into total darkness if East Sussex County Council pushes ahead with its proposed street lighting cuts.

More details of the proposals have emerged with the council conceding that it can turn the lights back on if crime goes up.

A consultation is set to take place in Rye in January, though residents will not have a yes/no vote on the proposals.

The plans are to dim street lights on main roads between midnight and 6am. Larger roads will lose 50 percent of their lights between 12.30pm and 5.30am, while smaller roads will have the lights turned off completely during those hours.

The cuts in Rye are expected to save the county council £4,000 a year.

The county council’s project co-ordinator Fiona Wellings responded to a question from Rye councillors , asking if the lights could be turned back on in the event of a crime surge , and said: “Absolutely”

But she admitted that details on which roads in Rye will be affected were not yet available, commenting: “No map of Rye is available at the moment. I haven’t got round to making one.”

She also said there is “no money available” for a proper footpath survey in Rye to identify potential tripping hazards before the lighting cuts are made.

Rye councillors were concerned that options such as using cheaper LED lighting bulbs had not been properly considered .

Fiona Wellings said: “The technology just isn’t there at the moment.”

She said the life expectancy of the equipment needed to make the lighting cuts was more than five years and that there would be no road closures during the installation process.

Cllr Adam Smith said: “This concerns me as Tilling Green is already poorly lit at the moment.”

Cllr John Breeds said: “If this was being done for environmental reasons rather than a cost cutting exercise I could support this.

“If you lose less electricity costs still go up to allow companies to retain the same revenue.”

Rye Town Council is looking at potential problem areas ahead of the consultation.