CRITICISM has been raised over a council's choice of how to spend its money...with public safety being ignored.

Residents living in Colchester have complained they believe the council is prioritising things which don’t need to be fixed over more important issues such as repairing potholes.

Essex County Council has began the estimated three year process of upgrading 82,000 street lamps to LED bulbs in 2021 and it now appears to be underway in the Lexden area.

About £26.8 million has been invested by Essex County Council which is set to save £39 million over 25 years.

The new lights will save about 60 per cent of energy usage and thousands of tons of carbon emissions involved in generating electricity.

But residents who living in streets where the new bulbs have been installed have commented that they are dim and reduce visibility in the area with growing concerns for public safety.

Colchester resident Peter Laurie said: “It seems criminal for the county council to remove perfectly good streetlights and spend millions installing inferior replacements when the prime objective should be to help people to see and be seen in darkness.

“At the same time our roads - another county council responsibility - are in a terrible state, with many unrepaired potholes.

“It sends a message that public safety is not a high priority.”

Colchester borough councillor for Shrub End Ward Sam McCarthy said: “I do believe potholes and pavements should be prioritised over this rollout.

“Of course, this is not to excuse the need to replace broken lights.

“I just find the wider rollout across Colchester has little benefit to the council taxpayer in the short and medium term and potholes receive far more complaints.”

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An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “LED lights last up to 20 years, much longer than old-style streetlights, which also releases our crews for other maintenance duties.

“All the lights Essex Highways installs are aligned with the relevant British Standard.

“LED lights offer a whiter light with better colour-contrast than the older sodium (orange) streetlights, resulting in objects more visible for road users and residents alike.

“LED lighting is also more directional, so there is not as much ‘spill’ in other directions as there was with sodium lights.”