Councillor Martin Cook Gainsborough ward, Ipswich Borough Council
My series of 13 daily tweets has galvanised Suffolk County Council into action, tackling a monster four-year backlog of streetlight repairs in Ipswich.
I found the sawn off, taped up street light pictured below at the junction of Landseer Road and Nacton Road on New Year’s Day. It had been left in this sorry state since June 2020. After that I started to see sawn off lighting columns everywhere and quickly realised Ipswich is absolutely littered with the things!
That’s because if you browse of Suffolk County Council’s street light reporting system you quickly appreciate it’s an impossible task to find a single accident damaged streetlight that the Tory-run Council have repaired since mid-2018!
The County set their own target timelines for repairing such faults in their Highway Maintenance Operational Plan. It’s typically 28 days for main roads. Where an accident occurs, the costs involved will be recoverable from insurers so it’s very hard to see how the usual excuse (limited funds) will wash here. Since they haven’t even come close to hitting their own timescales, the inescapable conclusion is that the insurance money must have been siphoned off to pay for other things, perhaps in rural areas of Suffolk.
After ten daily tweets the Suffolk Highways team started to sit up and take notice and asked for copies of my complete set of photos. They haven’t explained why Ipswich’s street lights had been allowed to get into this state in the first place, but after 13 straight days of tweets from me they issued the tweet below stating that the complete backlog would be tackled by early March.
It’s a pity that it took quite such a pointed campaign and iminent local elections to get things done. Nonetheless, I am pleased to have been able to make a difference to road safety and the street scene in Ipswich. I extend my thanks to the Suffolk Highways team for taking action and look forward to seeing near zero street light faults in the very near future.