Cuts could drag county into dark age

Swathes of Derbyshire could be plunged into darkness under controversial plans to stop fixing broken street lamps.

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) is to launch a consultation on the cost-cutting proposals which would only see failed lights in high-priority areas being replaced.

The plans look set to affect residential streets and industrial estates – but not areas such as hospitals, town centres and accident blackspots.

The Conservatives at Labour-led DCC claim the proposals – which will help save £775,000 – are “potentially dangerous and a backward step”.

DCC is having to make a number of tough decisions in a bid to slash £157m from its budget over the next four years because of cuts.

Councillor Dean Collins, DCC’s deputy cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, said: “We’re facing budget pressures like never before and have had to cut the amount of money we have available to spend.

“We’ve decided not to routinely replace light bulbs as we have been doing, but this will lead to more street lights going out when they get to the end of their working life.

“We won’t be able to replace every light bulb when it expires so need to know where people think we should spend the limited amount of money we do have.”

Cllr Barry Lewis, leader of the Conservatives at DCC, said: “Labour wishes to plunge the county into a new Dark Ages.”

Cllr Simon Spencer, shadow cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, added: “Labour appears to be dragging the whole county back to the 1970s.”