Temporary reprieve for road gritting and street lighting as Cambs County Council discovers £2.5m underspend

The grit dome at Witchford depot

The grit dome at Witchford depot - Credit: Archant

Council highway chiefs have agreed to support extra funding to go into gritting and street lighting but warned tough savings are still on the cards for the years ahead.

The economy transport and environment service has been given £500,000 to add to its budget following a £2.5 million under spend by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Members of highways and community infrastructure committee discussed last Wednesday where the money should be spent and agreed on helping to reduce some of the savings that had been proposed.

But they warned that the council is still making savings of around £5m in this area as part of the overall £32 million needed to be saved at the council if the books are to balance.

The Committee agreed that £300,000 should be put back into gritting of roads so there will be no reduction in the amount of roads the council grit, as was originally planned.

The Committee had previously agreed a saving of £240,000 in street lighting that would see most street lights, other than those on the busiest roads, being switched off at midnight.

It was agreed that £6,000 be put towards providing extended lighting beyond midnight in central areas of market towns, where there are high levels of late night time leisure activity.

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Cambridgeshire County Councillor Roger Hickford, chairman of the highways and community infrastructure committee, said: “While we are pleased to use this extra funding to mitigate some of the effects of the savings we know next year will see similar hard choices.

“There is more and more demand for our services and less and less money from Government. The committee were clear that protecting the routes we grit was important and vital for road safety, especially in our rural areas.

“They also wanted to give more time and flexibility for switching off street lights so we can work with other authorities to find local solutions for their areas.”

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