October 13, 2022 5.00 pm This story is over 18 months old

“Stop whinging and get off to bed” – councillors rebuked over safety strategy concerns

Street lights are a hot topic

Opposition councillors in East Lindsey have been told to “stop whinging” after they hit out at a new community safety partnership for not doing enough to tackle various issues, including the switching off of street lights.

The strategy is part of work by the South East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership of East Lindsey, Boston Borough and South Holland District Councils.

It covers topics such as anti social behaviour, hate crime, safer streets and night-time economy and the safety of women and girls.

However, Councillor Danny Brookes said he was “astounded” by the lack of focus on street lighting.

“It mentions feeling safe and it mentions a night-time economy, but when people are leaving the Embassy shows at quarter to 12 and then they’ve got to walk home in total darkness because the street lights have been switched off. I believe that nobody’s going to be feeling safe in that area.

“You feel safe until you get to half past 11 when you’ve got to start running to make sure you’re home before the lights go out.

“The fear the fear of crime is quite bad and if someone’s scared to walk out in the dark, then I think this is failing because people won’t feel safe after midnight.”

Councillor Tony Howard added that he was disappointed there wasn’t a commitment to lobby central government for more money.

“For years now we’ve seen money draining away from the police, from the local authorities, from everywhere that could be contributing and making our streets safer — and a case in point is that the money is gone from the county council and they felt that they had to switch off the lights for certain periods of time,” he said.

Further concerns included more being done to highlight speeding offences, safeguarding of children and the safety of the LGBT+ communities.

Council leaders said they had been lobbying for more money and help tackling issues, but that the document was not the place for such policy.

Councillor Graham Marsh said: “The county [council] have a countywide partnership, and they do the lobbying. So I don’t think that it’s down to us to lobby government.

“We put the pressure as much as we can on them on the county council and we have regular meetings with them. ”

He later said that some concerns were not “worth responding to quite honestly”.

“It’s not making a positive contribution to this debate. It’s… well… I think my mum used to call it ‘stop whinging and get off to bed’,” he said.

He, and other executive members, also pointed to improvements in CCTV cameras with £400,000 of safer streets funding going towards coverage of some of the main routes in and out of town centres.

He also noted that all streetlights were also fitted with infrared lighting, meaning CCTV operators could see “just as well at night with the lights off”.

Councillor Tom Ashton noted that LCC had a policy whereby town or parish councils could pay to have streetlights on, however, Councillor Brookes said this had proven too expensive for the town council at £350,000 for 20 years with no guarantees lights would remain on.

Councillor Craig Leyland said he was happy to take up any actions and write to Lincolnshire County Council about concerns.