Streetlights in Rugby may be turned on again after budget deal

Cllr Izzi Seccombe and Cllr Jerry Roodhouse
Cllr Izzi Seccombe and Cllr Jerry Roodhouse

Rugby’s streetlights may once again shine through the night after councillors agreed to look again at their controversial existing policy.

The announcement came as a deal was reached on the county council’s budget last week.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors joined forces to decide how the authority would spend its hundreds of millions of pounds. The agreement means the county council’s share of the annual council tax bill will rise by 1.95 per cent – the equivalent of about £1.98 per month for the average household.

The county council has now submitted a bid to the government for £4 million to pounds to replace its existing lights with LED technology – and Cllr Peter Butlin, the county councillor responsible for highways, believes it may relax its current policy as a result.

He said: “The part-night street lighting policy was a necessary step two years ago as the council sought to make £92m worth of savings.

“I have always stated that if the technology and money was available the Conservative-led council would look again at our night-time street lighting policy. If we are successful with this bid we can do just that as well as saving taxpayers money in the long run and cutting our CO2 emissions even further.”

Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe added: “Conservatives at Warwickshire County Council and all of our Warwickshire MPs have always listened to local residents and sought to do the very best to address their concerns.

“We know that LED energy could achieve £1m savings per year. This is an opportunity for us to be ahead of many other authorities, at relatively low cost to the people we represent.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Jerry Roodhouse, who devised the budget wih the ruling Conservative group, said: “This year’s budget builds on the already excellent work in Warwickshire to ensure every child in the county has the best start in life.”

The county council is responsible for services including education, transport, roads, social care, libraries, public health and country parks. It forms the bulk of the household council tax bill. Other levies are for Rugby Borough Council - which is yet to set its tax for the year and which is responsible for services including housing, parks and rubbish collection - Warwickshire Police and parish councils.

Other major items of expenditure include:

£1m on apprenticeships

£2.5m to improve the safety of children in relation to traffic, road and cycling safety around schools

£1.5m on health and wellbeing for children aged five and under to ensure they are ready to start school.
£4m for rural broadband – giving 98% of Warwickshire’s homes access to broadband connections.