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Fury as yobs smash lights

PUBLISHED: 17:56 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 July 2010

BROKEN: Gorleston resident Alan Whatley with one of the broken lamps.

BROKEN: Gorleston resident Alan Whatley with one of the broken lamps.

Dominic Bareham

ACTION has been promised to repair footway lights which have been vandalised creating a no-go zone for residents of a new housing estate, who fear walking through the dark alley at night.

ACTION has been promised to repair footway lights which have been vandalised creating a no-go zone for residents of a new housing estate, who fear walking through the dark alley at night.

Only three of the 18 lamps lining the path linking Jenner Road with Woodfarm Lane on the Beacon Park estate are working and many have been so badly damaged only the pole is still intact and both the light and surrounding shade are missing.

But Duncan Cole, principal location surveyor at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “We are aware the lights have been vandalised and it is a nuisance that that stuff goes on. We are working in partnership with Norfolk County Council for these schemes because they are making some alterations to the footpath and it may be we could get them to sort out the footlights.”

The situation was brought to light by Paget Crescent resident Alan Whatley who was angry the borough council had not replaced the damaged lamps along the path which runs alongside James Paget University Hospital and is used by mothers taking their children to the nearby Cliff Park schools.

He said a number of residents had contacted the council about the situation, but nothing had been done.

Aside from the risk of being attacked along an unlit footway, he feared a child could hurt themselves by falling on the broken glass from the lampshades strewn on the ground and there was also a risk of electrocution from exposed wires from the damaged poles.

“The council have not even bothered to clear up the glass or make the lamps safe. The tops have been removed from five of the lamps, but there is broken glass there and it is appalling really,” Mr Whatley said.

He also believed the conical-shaped tops made them easier to break than the usual flat 'strobe'-shaped tops on street lights similar to the lamps lining a footpath on the opposite side of Jenner Road which links to the A12.

The bases of the poles sit in the soil rather than concrete, which Mr Whatley said makes it easier for youths to rock them.

But Mr Cole said the East Anglian Air Ambulance had asked for the conical shade lamps because they were lower than the strobe lights and caused less interference for pilots landing on the helipad behind the hospital.

The council's contractor Hall's Precasters installed the lamps along the path which is intended to be a link for people to get to a new neighbourhood centre in Woodfarm Lane providing shops and other facilities, which is due to be built in the next two or three years.

But he pledged to ensure the bases were cased in concrete and said: “It is the vandals that are the problem. It is not the council's fault, but if the problem is vandalism then we will attend to it urgently.

“It annoys me when you create a beautiful landscape down there for the benefit of the public and vandals come along and destroy it.”

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