Street lighting work upsets North Walsham

UNDER fire Norfolk County Council and one of its contractors have apologised for upsetting North Walsham with a scheme to replace street lights.Cockerel restaurant owners Mark and Claire Rushen (pictured) are the latest to complain about lack of consultation and disruption caused by the work.

By ALEX HURRELL

alex.hurrell@archant.co.uk

UNDER-FIRE Norfolk County Council and one of its contractors have apologised for upsetting North Walsham with a scheme to replace street lights.


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Cockerel restaurant owners Mark and Claire Rushen are the latest to complain about lack of consultation and disruption caused by the work.

They say would-be customers were put off and takings dropped after contractors Amey blocked their North Street restaurant's entrance.

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The Rushens' anger echoes that of other residents who have contacted councillors after finding new street lights shining into their homes.

And it has prompted a stinging attack from North Walsham county councillor Paul Morse.

Mr Morse has slated consultation on the scheme as "woefully inadequate" and called for an urgent review of the county's management of all its contracts.

The Rushens had received a general warning letter from Amey stating that new lights were due to be installed in their neighbourhood but with no precise information about when or where.

"Everywhere you look the town is dying on its feet with shops closing at an alarming rate of knots. This sort of disruption is the last thing we need in North Walsham," said Mrs Rushen.

County council spokesman John Birchall said the North Walsham work was part of a 25-year, Norfolk-wide scheme which would see Amey replace some 50,000 street lights with more energy-efficient lights which gave better illumination and reduced light spillage.

He said: "Norfolk County Council and Amey are sorry that the replacement of lights in North Walsham has not gone as smoothly as other street light improvements elsewhere in the county.

"We do not formally consult on the positioning of the new lights because this is largely dictated by the need to meet modern illumination standards.

"However, we do warn people that the work is imminent and try to meet local concerns where possible. In North Walsham amendments were made in response to comments from local people."

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