Guiseley and Rawdon councillor may pay for lighting

Wharfedale Observer: Councillor Paul Wadsworth Councillor Paul Wadsworth

A councillor may pay for street lights out of his own budget amid cuts by the local authority.

Leeds City Council has launched a scheme to turn off a small proportion of street lights between midnight and 5.30am.

But Guiseley and Rawdon councillor Paul Wadsworth feels so strongly about the proposed changes for his area that his is looking at paying for three lights in his constituency out of his own council allocation for local projects.

He said: “I am fundamentally opposed to these proposals. As well as encouraging burglars and other miscreants, I think that the amount of money saved per lamp doesn’t justify switching the lights off.”

Leeds City Council hopes the city-wide scheme will save £1.3 million over the next ten years. When the scheme is compete 8,000 of the city’s 92,000 street lights will be switched off between midnight and 5.30am.

The Leeds City Council proposals for Guiseley and Rawdon would involve the part time switch off of a small percentage of lights on Bradford Road, Hollins Hill, New Road, and Park Road.

Coun Wadsworth said: “The savings for the Guiseley and Rawdon ward are minimal – £770 a year – whilst the potential impact on local people is huge.”

He added: “The switching off of the three lights on Park Road will mean there is a stretch of road, used regularly by people on foot and not far from housing, that will be extremely dark. That stretch will only encourage people who may be up to no good.”

He is now looking at the possibility of paying to keep all the Park Road street light on out of his allocation of council money for local community projects.

Otley and Yeadon were among the first areas to experience the scheme, along with the Adel and Wharfedale ward. In the run-up to the switch off there police said they were satisfied the change would not have any effect on community safety.

A partnership made up of Leeds City Council, emergency services, crime reduction, community safety and road safety representatives has carried out risk assessments to decide which lights in each area should be switched off.

A public consultation exercise was carried out earlier this year.

Launching the proposals last year Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said: “While the primary reason for doing this is to save money and help cut carbon emissions, we would like to stress that road safety and the impact on crime remains of the utmost importance.”

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