A PLAN to save cash by only replacing street lighting in priority areas such as town centres could leave parts of South Derbyshire in the dark.
Derbyshire County Council’s cost-cutting measure has been branded as ‘short-sighted’ and ‘ill thought out’ by a councillor in the south of the county, who fears the plan could leave residents feeling vulnerable in their homes.
Currently, bulbs are replaced across the district on a regular basis, even if they have not gone out, but the county’s Labour authority insist that is no longer viable.
Under the plans, only areas seen as priorities, including main traffic routes and accident blackspots would continue to have lighting routinely replaced.
County council transport chief Joan Dixon said budget cuts had forced them to consider the proposal.
She said: “This is something we wouldn’t normally consider but, given the cost of energy prices at the moment and the financial difficulties the council is facing, we have to consider doing this kind of thing.
“What we want to do now is wait until the bulb goes out before we replace it.
“And where there are bulbs that have gone out but no-one is complaining about them and it’s not a danger, we will leave them.”
But Derbyshire county councillor Martyn Ford (pictured), who represents villages including Repton, Willington and Etwall, hit out at the plan.
He believes the authority should have looked at rolling out part night lighting in more villages to save cash, which had seen bulbs in some areas switched off for a few hours each night and fears residents will have concerns about the potential threat of being left in permanent darkness.
He said: “I think it’s very short-sighted of the controlling group that they are not going to replace lights that go out. I think there would be a lot of concern among residents if several were to go out at the same time - safety and crime could be an issue.
“It is a real problem and from my point of view I would urge the county council to reconsider this ill thought out proposal.”