RESIDENTS of Gamble Park in Castlederg say they are being returned “to the dark ages” following a street lighting downgrade from Transport NI.
Complaining this week that their valid concerns are being ignored, the situation relates to the removal of four street lights from the local estate, lights which residents previously relied on to access the rear of properties.
This week, a spokesperson for the Transport NI said it has been longstanding policy that street lighting would not be provided in un-adopted streets or to rear footpaths/accesses.
Gamble Park resident, Jimmy McMenamin says this statement “doesn’t wash.”
“For the past 50 years these lights have been working and if one of the bulbs was out, you reported it and it was fixed,” he said. “For them to say it isn’t policy, doesn’t wash with me.
“This isn’t a situation where we’re looking for anything new or anything more. This is a situation where residents are looking to retain what we had. And it’s all over four lights. But it’s four lights which would make all the difference, especially in Winter and especially for elderly people or people with health problems who live in the park.”
He added, “We were told when they starting working that this was supposed to be an upgrade. But it’s a downgrade. Basically we’ve gone back to the dark ages.”
Since work concluded last week, Sinn Féin councillor for the area, Ruairi McHugh has rowed in behind the residents’ cause. He says the situation is “unacceptable.”
“I have been in contact with Transport NI section engineers on behalf of many residents who contacted me on this issue to let them know that this situation is unacceptable as there are elderly residents in the area who rely on street lighting, not only for visibility at night and in
Winter time, but for security and peace of mind in their own homes,” he said.
“I have written to the divisional manager asking him to urgently review this decision with a view to reinstating these street lights for Gamble Park residents as the small number of lights involved will have minimum impact on any budgetary requirements.”
When contacted in relation to the matter, a Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said, “While the department appreciates the residents concern the action taken is in line with current policy.”