Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Councillor held birthday party for lamppost that has been broken for a year

A birthday party has been held for a lamppost which has not been working for a year. The street light in Pebmarsh Close, Colchester, Essex, was damaged 12 months ago after a bin lorry hit it. But despite repeated requests for it to be fixed, nothing has happened. So in a bid to grab the attention of Essex Highways bosses, Colchester borough and Essex county councillor Dave Harris (Lab) held a birthday party, complete with cake and card, at the lamppost.

Mr Harris said: “It’s been a full year and nothing has happened. It really is unacceptable. “It is on a corner where many people walk at night, so it needs to be lit to make people feel safe, especially now we are coming into winter and the evenings will be darker. I thought I’d have a party to show it’s still not been done. I selected a card with an owl on it because you have to be an owl to see around the place at night.”

Mr Harris first raised the issue on October 11 last year. In email exchanges he was initially told the lamppost would be repaired within “four to five weeks”. But nothing was done and, in August, Mr Harris raised the issue again, only to be told the job had been passed to a contractor to install a new lamp column. At that time, the contractor was waiting for new materials to complete the work. No timescale for repairs could be given.

When Mr Harris then asked why the contractor did not have any lamppost columns, which are frequently needed for repairs, he was told although the equipment had been available since October last year, “other works have taken priority”. Essex Highways has now confirmed the street light will be repaired within a week. Mr Harris added: “This is a service each and everyone of us pay our council tax for. It should not take a year for a lamppost to be repaired.”

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