Money might have to be spent on lighting

By Connie Osborne Thursday 01 May 2014 Updated: 02/05 08:47

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Two thirds of street lights are set to be switched off in a bid to save half a million pounds a year.

THOUSANDS of pounds destined to support good work in the community may have to be spent on street lighting.

Worcestershire County Council bosses say because Church Hill Way is not on their list to receive lighting an option would be for Arrow Valley East councillor Joe Baker to pay for it through his divisional funds.

Councillors are allocated £10,000 every year to spend on supporting community activities, charities or voluntary organisations.

But Coun Baker would have to use £8,000 of his funds to pay for the lights along the new pathway which runs from Loxley Close to Church Hill Centre.

He said: "It's disgraceful they are actually asking a county councillor to use their divisional funds to pay for things that should be included in our council tax.

"The fund should be used to help local organisations, charities and groups to enhance the welfare of the community, not to be paying for street lights.

"I'm really concerned about this and residents feeling unsafe. It could encourage young people to gather because it is so dark."

The pathway has already caused controversy after elderly and disabled residents complained it was uneven and dangerous to walk along.

It was originally built to replace a shorter walkway which runs from Loxley Close, past the YMCA and up to the centre which was due to be closed for a new housing development.

Although it has now been kept open until the new route is re-surfaced, residents are still unhappy.

Coun Pat Witherspoon, who represents the ward on Redditch Borough Council, said the state of the walkway isolated those living in the area who had mobility problems.

"There are at least eight people in Loxley Close who have mobility problems who will still have that long way round to walk and it is extremely unsafe," she said.

"How anyone is expected to get a mobility scooter along there I don't know, and at night especially when it will be pitch black. It is ridiculous."

She added the back entrance of Mendip House where elderly residents lived had been moved to try and shorten their journey but it was still too dangerous for them to walk along.

A spokesperson for Worcestershire County Council said they have asked for another inspection of the path.

"The county council carries out regular safety surveys. Repairs to defects, such as potholes are carried out depending on the severity of the defect and associated risks. "

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