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KCC 'may have misled councillors over street light scheme'

PUBLISHED: 12:55 20 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:55 20 May 2015

Street lights

Street lights

(c) Ryan McVay

Police opposition to scheme may not have been made clear

OPPOSITION from Kent Police to the county’s street light switch-off may not have been made clear to the county councillors in charge of the decision, a report has found.

In its own report on the issue – commissioned by council leader Paul Carter in response to “concerns” from opposition councillors – Kent County Council was criticised for ignoring legal advice, failing to be clear about the cost of the scheme and holding a poor and lacklustre public consultation.

Since the lights were switched off last year, KCC has received around 3,500 complaints about the scheme, half of which expressed concerns about “the perceived impact on crime, the fear of crime and general community safety.”

“It is not clear that members or other consultees were provided with the detail of the police responses, and in particular the fact that Kent Police expressed on more than one occasion that they could not support the scheme,” the report said.

“It may have been the case that, had they been aware of such comments, some members’ opinions of the project might have been less supportive.

”There is a significant body of work that suggests that improved street lighting helps to reduce crime where crime is prevalent.”

Such was the controversy around the scheme that KCC has now had to scrap it, replacing all its lights with cheaper LED bulbs instead.

For the full story, see this week’s Kent on Sunday or next week’s Gravesend Reporter.

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