Residents were celebrating today after work finally began on replacing two lightbulbs – after a THREE YEAR battle with a council who claim it will cost £8.000.
The Church Hall and the village green in picturesque Glemsford, near Sudbury, Suffolk, were plunged into darkness after two street lamps stopped working in 2007.
After inspecting the lights, workers from Suffolk County Council said they were unable to fix them due to a ‘G39’ health and safety issue.
The council claims their proximity to power lines and trees make it too dangerous to use a simple ladder to replace the bulbs as suggested by residents.
They told Glemsford Parish Council the lights would need to be moved and rewired at a safer location at a cost of £8,000 – more than ten percent of the annual precept budget of £70,000.
Workmen arrived at one of the lamp posts yesterday morning and began cordoning off the road and drilling deep into the pavement in preparation for the repairs.
Frustrated resident Pauline Currie, 54, a retired accountant and carer, lives opposite the light next to the Church hall and said she was ”so relieved” something was being done.
She said: ”The work started this morning, which has come as a great relief after all this time.
”I think particularly for the elderly residents around here it must be a tremendous feeling.
”It has really affected the quality of life of many locals for so many years, it is about time work has finally started.
”The lights will mean people are able to come out on the dark nights and see where they are going.
”It will make a huge difference and mean people are able to get their lives back.”
Len Young, 76, Babergh District Councillor for Glemsford and a retired court worker, said the council were intent wasting on the parish’s limited funds.
He said: ”It is just awful that the people of Glemsford have had to go without having lights for so long.
”Three years is such a long time to leave residents in complete darkness.
”Some residents are quite elderly and take part in activities at the Village hall such as the Women’s Institute at night but they have been made very uncomfortable by the situation.
”The worrying thing is that there are a number of other street lamps identical to the ones we are having problems with – we can’t fork out £8,000 each time a bulb goes.”
A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman confirmed work has started on the streetlamps, which she said had been deemed beyond repair and needed to be replaced.
They said G39 Workplace Electrical Safety guidelines for Local Authority workers limits work being carried out by nearby trees and power lines.
She said: ”We have started trenching work on behalf of Glemsford Parish Council, who hold a maintenance contract with us.
”Normally streetlamps are maintained by our Highways department but these particular ones were installed by the parish council on a footpath.”