A bid to hold a referendum over the controversial part-night lighting scheme has been rejected by Tory-led Essex County Council.

Liberal Democrat and Brentwood County Councillor, David Kendall, put forward the motion at a recent full council meeting. It would’ve given residents a chance to express their views on the scheme that came into effect across the county towards the end of last year. His motion was backed cross-party by all except the Torries.

Kendall said:

The residents of Essex have never been formally consulted on the principle of having their street – lights switched off between 12am and 5am, the Tories have just rolled out their plans across the county regardless. My motion would have given those City, Borough and District Councils that wanted it, an opportunity to hold a referendum on this important issue in their areas so that residents could express their views for and against through a ballot box. Sadly the Tories running Essex have shown once again they don’t believe in democratic accountability and localism by denying residents a voice on this very important issue. They should be ashamed.

Councillor of Highways at County Hall, Rodney Bass, said that a county council could only commission an advisory one, but added officers were keeping up to date with alternative technology such as LED lights.

He added:

We did consult extensively with the emergency services and local councils. I have said it before and I say it again, there is no evidence that crime has risen as a result. I think the Lib Dems are flogging a dead horse when they call for a referendum.

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