Lights out in village sparks safety fears

PUBLISHED: 11:11 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:38 26 October 2009

In the dark: Keith Venables and Sue Malone with other villagers near one of the street lights

In the dark: Keith Venables and Sue Malone with other villagers near one of the street lights

OUR darkest months of the year have been even blacker for some residents this season, writes Laurel Smithson. Half of Essendon has been without street lights for weeks following an electrical fault. The problem started on December 14 and, despite repeated

OUR darkest months of the year have been even blacker for some residents this season, writes Laurel Smithson.

Half of Essendon has been without street lights for weeks following an electrical fault.

The problem started on December 14 and, despite repeated calls from residents to both Herts Highways and power company EDF Energy, it still continues.

Sue Malone said: "It has been over a month without street lighting. Everybody's health and safety is being put at risk.

"Older people are worried about going out after dark and you can't see your hand in front of your face.

"It's been a long time since the blackout in the war, so some of us are a bit out of practice.

"But no one seems to want to take responsibility. It is very frustrating."

She said she was now considering withholding her council tax until it was fixed.

The problem affects School Lane, East View, Rectory Close and outside the village school.

Parish councillor Keith Venables has taken up the cause.

He said: "It's very dark, like the black hole of Calcutta, but we are getting no help whatsoever to sort the problem out."

There was a problem with ensuring youngsters attending youth group meetings at the village hall, getting home safely in the dark.

A spokeswoman for Herts Highways said: "There has been a problem locating where the fault was, but half of the lights are back on now.

"But we have been in touch with EDF and the rest should be repaired soon."

A spokeswoman from EDF Energy told the WHT on Monday: "The council visited the area over the weekend to confirm which columns are without light.

"We have passed this information to our contractors who are due on site tomorrow [Tuesday] to rectify the situation as swiftly as possible."

She added: "We apologise for the inconvenience caused."

The problem was initially thought to be a faulty fuse at a sub station, but this was replaced and the lights still didn't work, so it is now believed to be damaged underground cable.

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