Chineham road left in the dark for three weeks

8:47am Monday 16th December 2013

By Emily Roberts

RESIDENTS in Chineham are angry that a local street has been left in the dark for nearly three weeks.

Hampshire County Council replaced the lights along Thornhill Way, as part of its upgrading programme of work.

But eight of the new lights have not worked since they were installed, plunging a large section of the road into darkness.

Trevor Lemar, a father-of-three, said his family and neighbours have felt unsafe as a result.

The 58-year-old, from Juniper Close, added: “The leaflet that was sent out to residents stated that the old street lights would not be removed until such time as the new street lights, standing in tandem to each other, were working. Contrary to this, the old lighting has been removed, but the new lights are not working.”

He reported the matter to Chineham Parish Council on November 26, after the lights went out on November 21.

A response from council clerk Sally Jackson, sent the following day, said: “I have had a response from my contact at Hampshire County Council who has confirmed that multiple adjacent lights “out” is an emergency condition so he has phoned it through to SSE (the contractors) and they will attend the site within the next two hours. He suspects that it is an underground electricity cable fault.”

However, the lights were still not fixed, and an email from Ms Jackson two days later said there was “no confirmed date” as to when they would be back on.

Mr Lemar, an AWE engineer, said: “We are feeling very insecure living here right now.”

He said the busy road is now dangerous to cross, particularly for schoolchildren who are forced to negotiate the traffic in the “pitch black” or wait for a bus in the dark.

Mr Lemar said there had also been suspicious activity in the area, when two men were seen sitting in a van along the road, and one jumped over a fence with a torch.

He said: “I should be staying away on business this week, but my wife and daughter don’t want to be left alone in the house, and have begged me to travel home each night.”

Louise Payne, communications officer for the county council, said: “The faulty street lights at Thornhill Way, Chineham was originally reported to the service provider on the morning of Wednesday, November 27 and was attended within two hours.

“As the defect has been caused by a fault with the underground electricity cable network (owned and maintained by SSE plc), a high priority fault report was issued to them the same day.

“Under OFGEM rules, SSE plc has a maximum of 30 days to repair such faults, although 90 per cent are resolved within 10 working days. This 10-day target expires on December 11.”

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