A SCHEME to upgrade street lights in Petworth could cost £20,000, stunned town councillors have been told.
Chairman Chris Kemp said it had come as ‘a bit of a bombshell’ when he had received a list showing lampposts which were to be upgraded throughout the town.
It is part of a project being carried out by West Sussex County Council throughout the county through contractors SSE.
Mr Kemp said it was a complicated issue as some lampposts were owned by the county council and some by the town.
“We need lampposts in some places and don’t need them in others, but they are about to start the upgrade on December 3 and the work will go on to the end of January, working through Christmas except the holidays.”
He warned: “There will be some disturbance.”
Mr Kemp said he had been informed the lampposts in Barton Lane and Rosemary’s Garden were unsafe.
“They will replace them free of charge, but they will be modern,” he told town councillors. “If we want to replace them with heritage-style ones, they will furnish us with the cost. We are talking about £800 per lamppost and there are four.”
In addition, Mr Kemp told councillors the lights around the Leconfield Hall and the Market Square, which were 60s style and out of date, were also to be replaced.
“They have agreed if we contribute to the cost we can have heritage-style lights on the Leconfield Hall and in the Market Square – but we will have to find the money. I personally feel we should do it, I have never liked them.”
The cost of replacing these lights would be between £15,000-£20,000 the meeting was told.
“I believe this town council will have to find a solution,” Mr Kemp told members.
He said he intended to call an extraordinary meeting of the town council to try to find a way of paying for the heritage-style street lighting.
Janet Duncton, county councillor for Petworth, said she had been on the working party with Lady Egremont when the original lights were chosen for the Leconfield Hall.
She said it was possible the town council could get a grant for the new lights through the county local committee of West Sussex County Council.
Grants were handed out to towns and parishes to carry out projects in the community.