Harrogate residents angered as town's historic lamps taken away

Residents have expressed anger as plans to remove the town's Victorian style street lamps are now well underway.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 9:45 am
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 10:07 am
The Victorian style lamps have stood in the town for more than 150 years.

Plans to replace up to 900 of the town’s street lights which have stood since the 1850’s were first announced by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) in June 2014.

But despite much opposition the lights are now being removed from a number of streets including Mornington Crescent and Park Chase.

Following a call by the ‘Advertiser on social media for people to share their opinion on the matter, many reacted with anger.

One of the street lights on Park Chase in the removal process.

Malcolm Morrison Douglas said: “Why is the council so desperate to scrap our heritage and replace it with soulless, characterless, modern rubbish.

“The Victorians knew how to make things to last. Keep the good quality, good looking lights.”

Harrogate Civic Society have also condemned the plans and even worked with NYCC to investigate the possibility of refurbishing the old columns to new standards.

But NYCC has a number of safety concerns over the new columns even with refurbished aspects.

One of the street lights on Park Chase in the removal process.

- The base of the old style columns are too small to house the electrical equipment needed to convert them.

- There is no way of 'earthing' the columns so that there is not a live electric current.

- Many of the columns have compromised structural safety due to corrosion over time.

- Made of cast iron the columns are very brittle and often snap completely when impacted such as in a car collision.

However the council have offered the Civic Society 50 intact columns to use how they see fit with the exception of being placed on the public highway.

NYCC executive member for Highways, Don Mackenzie, also defended the plans saying the council had explored a number of options to keep the lamps but that safety was the utmost priority.

He said: “We have been consulting with the proper authorities like Harrogate Civic Society and Harrogate Borough Council for months if not years about the issue but in the end as a highways authority we have to use street lights that are effective, not costly to run, good to the environment and above all, which are safe.

“We have a responsibility to keep the public safe and that is what we are setting out to do.”