A fed-up Sheffield MP has blasted the management of a project to replace street lighting – questioning if the contractor was even ‘half competent’.
Clive Betts said roads across the city have been left without lights for weeks and hundreds of holes dug in pavements – forcing people to walk on dark, busy highways – by Sheffield Council contractor Amey.
Part of the Streets Ahead project is replacing all of Sheffield’s street lights with LED lights that are more environmentally friendly and which aim to make streets safer and brighter.
It is the largest scheme of its kind, but residents have complained about delays leaving them in the dark.
Now Labour MP Mr Betts, who represents Sheffield South East, has called for the Labour-run council’s scrutiny committee to ‘shed more light’ on problems with a full report and by questioning Amey’s performance.
He said: “Like residents, businesses and councillors, I am absolutely fed up with Amey’s seeming inability to properly manage the replacement of street lighting.
“The Badger Estate in Woodhouse is a continuing example of Amey’s mis-management.Amey said that they have had a problem in securing a supply of the new lamps.
“Any half-competent contractor would ensure it had a guaranteed supply of the necessary materials before it started digging holes.”
Mr Betts said he did not doubt the benefits of the scheme but he had to go public with his criticism as performance had not improved.
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More than 16,500 LED street lights have been installed.
Graeme Symonds, a project director for Streets Ahead, thanked Mr Betts for his feedback and said changes had been made to improve the way works were carried out, and staff were working closely with utility firms.
He added: “The project is complex and we have had some issues in relation to street lighting, which has caused disruption.
“These have been resolved and we are working hard to get the street lighting programme back on track, which we expect to do in the next six weeks.
“However, we are asking everyone to please bear with us because once all works are complete we will have one of the best street lighting networks in Europe.
“Lighting on the Badger estate will be completed by the end of November.”