Councillor defends decision to switch of street lights
A Filton labour South Gloucestershire councillor, who has
been heavily criticised for voting against his town councils decision on
switching off street lighting, has released a statement defending his decision
Labour councillor for Filton Roger Hutchinson told a packed
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council meeting on Conygre ward recently that he had voted to switch off the
street lights on Filton streets, despite the town council rejecting the plan in
a unanimous vote earlier in the year.
Town councillors told councillors Hutchinson that his decision
to vote in favour of the switch off, caused real concern and worry. Councillor
Melanie Drewitt told the councillor that Filton is a priority neighbourhood and
elderly residents were worried about their safety as it was, only to be faced
with the prospect of darkness.
Town councillor Rikki Teml said "As a council we voted to oppose the lights being swtiched off. Was our letter even read out by councillor Hutchinson?"
Councillor Brian Mead, who is chair of Filton labour branch and a colleague of councillor Hutchinson, said he was against the switch off and was sceptical of views it would have no impact to crime. He said "I am totally against the switch off" and that alternative lighting technology should be investigated.
Another resident Mr Tiler said that as he lived on a main
road in Filton, he experiences people walking home at all hours and if the
lights are out the road safety could cost lives instead of money. He said only
a few years ago someone was fatally injured on Filton avenue and he worried
that turning off the lights would increase the risk.
Residents also questioned why in Filton they pay more council
tax than someone living in Almondsbury or any other area within South
Gloucestershire. They demanded to know what they are getting for their money.
Labour councillor Adam Monk, said he didn't know what the answer was but would
Councillor Hutchinson has released a statement to say his
decision was for the wider South Gloucestershire and not only Filton. He said "We
cannot be exempt from a policy which covers the whole of South Gloucestershire.
He went onto say that the parish council has the option of "paying for the
Filton council has reacted angrily to councillor Hutchinsons stance and have demanded that
representatives from South Gloucestershire council return to a future meeting
and debate their options.