Concerns sparked over Saddleworth street lighting consultations

A CAMPAIGNING councilor has criticised a “frustrating” scheme and lack of consultation as street lighting across Saddleworth is replaced.

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SEEING DOUBLE: The poles on Stoneswood Road

Energy giant E.ON is installing new poles and lights across the area on behalf of Oldham Council.

But Cllr Garth Harkness, OMBC Councillor for Saddleworth North, and numerous residents have been left annoyed and exasperated by the way the project has been carried out.

Along Stoneswood Road in Delph, brand new street lights have been installed – right next to the old poles which must remain in place as well as they still carry wires for Electricity North West.

One resident, who wished to be unnamed, criticised E.ON for poor consultation on the sitings.

She said: “I understand they can’t take the old poles down as they carry the electricity wires but now we have twice as many poles – three in some places – and it creates clutter.

“Markings went down for the poles on October 9. Then on October 14 we had a letter saying there was a consultation period and we should get in touch about any issues, preferably prior to the markings going down!

“The whole consultation process has been a sham. I hope people in other areas will be given a fair chance.”

Cllr Harkness has been in regular contact with E.ON and Oldham Council to push for meetings and consultations.

He said: “It is no secret I have been critical of EON and the lack of consultation that has taken place.

“The whole replacement of street lighting in Saddleworth has been a very frustrating experience. The street lights are more efficient but we have had major obstacles and reluctance to engage.

“More recent meetings have been more constructive and they have agreed to engage with proposals and options relating to the heritage style lamps in conservation areas.”

One such area is Harrop Green in Diggle, which Cllr Harkness visited with fellow councillors and the conservation officer and put in key recommendations to maintain the character.

Plans for the conservation areas are now on display at Denshaw Village Hall, Lees Library, Diggle Band Club, Uppermill Civic Hall, Dobcross Post Office, Greenfield Library and Lydgate Church Hall.

An E.ON spokesperson said: “Ahead of any work being carried out, we conduct an extensive consultation process with stakeholders and the local community.

“Consultation letters were sent to residents in Harrop Green, Diggle in April 2015 and October 2015, and Stoneswood Road, Delph in December 2014 and October 2015.

“The existing wooden poles in Stoneswood Road aren’t owned by E.ON and therefore we’re unable to utilise these in our plans.

“Subject to a satisfactory inspection, the four heritage columns in Harrop Green will undergo refurbishment and fitted with new lanterns, and the single concrete column will be replaced with a new column and lantern.

“Residents can contact us should they wish to discuss any element of the street lighting works on 0800 015 0452 or O&RPFI@sustainable.eon-uk.com”

 

One Reply to “Concerns sparked over Saddleworth street lighting consultations”

  1. This is what happens when PFI contracts are entered into. The council psays up but all democratic accountability is lost. As well as Eon there are a number of sub contractors taking their cut at council taxpayers expense. These include Balfour Beatty and Altitude Services.

    The consultation Eon claim to have taken place in December 2014 did not happen on Stoneswood Road. The October 2015 letter came too late as indicated in the article. This letter was hand delivered and maybe Eon need to check if the sub contractor they use for this are actually delivering letters when they are supposed to.

    All the publicity about this project implies like for like replacement. It does not suggest the installation of additional poles. Eon say they cannot use existing poles because they are owned by ENWL but when you ask Eon they say it is because of H&S. Which is true? If it is the latter why is it safe to take a lamp down but not safe to put a new one up?

    Now some weeks after the new lamps have been put in on Stoneswood Road the old ones are still there!

    Also a new lamp installed at the bottom of the road has had to be removed because there was no electricity supply for it.

    No wonder Cllr Harkness finds this frustrating. He is not alone.

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