FIGHT OVER LIGHTS

MOURNEVIEW residents are fighting for their right to light.

Greenhill Park householders took to the streets to protest after Roads Service began its installation of new street lighting in the area.

Several residents were angry that lights outside their homes were being taken away while others objected to having lights directly outside their bedrooms.

One resident has even parked her car in the space marked for a new street light in order to stop the diggers going to work outside her house.

Roads Service said the lighting plan in the estate followed new guidelines and the plans couldn’t be tailored to individuals. At the time of going to press, however, Roads Service had promised to check the plans for flexibility following consultation with residents.

75-year-old Betty Ross said: “I’ve been here 40 years. I came here when the painters were painting these houses. That light has been there the whole time. It’s my security light.”

With Betty living on the end of the terrace at the opening of the playing fields at Monbrief she said the light was vital in keeping the area well lit.

“There’s young ones come over the fields full of drink. It’s bad enough when they come past my house with the light on. What’s it going to be like with no light.”

The street light beside Betty’s house also provided light for the ambulance which is a regular visitor to her house because of her husband’s ill health.

Fellow Greenhill Park resident Pearl Girvan said: “Roads Service is ripping up everybody’s pavements and putting in lights where people don’t want them.

“People came yesterday to do this. They seem to be putting them everywhere and anywhere. I don’t see why they can’t put them where the old ones were.

“The first I knew about this was when I saw the yellow marks in front of my house. I thought it was to get the footpath fixed.

“I parked my car outside the house to block the diggers getting at it. Other residents have stopped them from digging outside their homes.

“We’ve been told if we don’t move they’ll get the police involved.

Pearl believes the new lighting scheme is overdoing it. She said: “When all these posts are done there’ll be airplanes and everything landing.”

Roads Service were in the area on Tuesday to meet with residents over the street lighting issue.

Divisional Street Lighting Engineer Jack Robinson: “The street lighting columns here are designed to last 20 to 30 years. These ones are 40 years old.

“Standards in lighting have changed. We’ve invested a lot of money to bring the roads infrastructure here up to standard.

“We have to maintain roads and footpaths in order to make them safe. There’s a balance to be struck between the people living here and the road and footpath users.

“What we’re doing now is speaking to residents and seeing if there is any flexibility with what we’re doing.”

He added: “It’s human nature to be wary of change. New lights replacing lights that have been there for 40 years.

“I have sympathy with the people, but we can’t light for individuals.”

DUP Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “I’ve been working with the residents on this issue. I was contacted yesterday by concerned residents. I contacted the Road Service to arrange a site meeting.

“There’s a number of issues to be resolved. We’re working through them to try and get what is best for residents in this area.”