NEW street lighting installed at Rawtenstall’s redeveloped Valley Centre site goes against the council’s own conservation guidelines, say borough Conservatives.
They have accused Rossendale Council of ‘double standards’, after it took businesses in Bacup to court over a similar rule breach.
Deputy leader of the Conservatives in Rossendale, Coun Amanda Milling said the council was ‘cutting corners’ to get the project up and running by its due date of October 6.
She said: “It beggars belief that the Labour-run council are forcing shop owners to change their shutters to meet the requirements of the conservation area policy, yet they go ahead and blatantly do something in breach of these guidelines.
County Coun Tony Winder said the lights being replaced were put in place thanks to an English Heritage grant almost 15 years ago.
He added: “It appears that the local council decided to choose these modern fittings to save money, although they were offered the choice between this modern lighting and ones which would conform to the requirements of a conservation area and matched the existing ones.”
Rossendale’s portfolio holder for regeneration, Coun Andy McNae, admitted that cost was the issue with upgrading the heritage lights.
He said: “Clearly we would have been keen to have heritage lights in place but only if that had been an affordable option.
“Lancashire County Council is responsible for the lights. It has made a general policy decision to use the basic modern-design light fittings where replacements are required.
“When we enquired about using heritage lighting for the work on the former Valley Centre site the county council did give Rossendale Council the option to pay for upgrading to ornate fixtures ourselves.
“However, this would have cost an additional £13,000. We do not have that money available in our budget.”