Community’s fears after being left in the dark

Residents are angry about the new street lighting in Leighton Crescent, Easthouses. Picture Ian Rutherford
Residents are angry about the new street lighting in Leighton Crescent, Easthouses. Picture Ian Rutherford

Residents in Easthouses have been left fearing for their safety with local street lights out of action following a change of bulbs.

In April Midlothian Council installed LED lights at Gordon Street, Broadhurst Road, Hurstead Avenue, Leighton Crescent, Old Mayfield Road, Burnside Avenue and Burnside Crescent.

The streets of Easthouses left in darkness.

The streets of Easthouses left in darkness.

Residents say that since then the lights have only worked on seven nights out of more than 50.

Scottish Power denied that the LED lights caused the issue and promised to fix the fault this week.

Midlothian Council also denied the problem had anything to do with it installing the new lights and said the issues was “wholly a Scottish Power problem”.

Alex Watson (69) of Leighton Crescent, said he cannot believe that his estate has been left in darkness for so long.

He said: “We have zero light at all at night. It’s just as well that at the moment it doesn’t get dark until late. But the danger is that we are an easy target for thieves. We have already had attempted break-ins. These people can move about with impunity because it is so dark out there.

“As soon as you come off Easthouses Road at night you are in darkness. We are off the grid.

“We have not got this amenity we should have by law. We all pay rates for this and it’s just not being supplied.

“Everybody is starting to think it’s the council’s fault, but I believe they doing their best. I contacted council leader Derek Milligan and he contacted Scottish Power who then put the lights on three weeks ago, but they only lasted four nights.”

Alex expressed the fears of his mostly elderly neighbourhood. He said: “We are OAPs. The average age of residents living in these streets is about 69. Most are retired. We rely on these lights.

“We want to get this fixed before the nights get longer and the darkness really returns. It’s ok just now really, but we want this fixed as soon as possible.

“It’s scary hearing people in your back garden at night and you can’t see them. We have had to put up a new gate and reinforced the fence in our garden to keep people out.

“It’s a close-knit community and everyone looks out for one another, but you can’t do that when you are in bed at night.”

Alex has now also contacted his local MP Danielle Rowley and MSP Colin Beattie as he awaits Scottish Power’s promised repairs.

A spokesman for SP Energy Networks apologised for the problem.

He said: “Unfortunately we have a fault on our local network. It is not related in any way to the change in street lighting. Our engineers have been working on the problem, and we hope to have completed repairs in the next week.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and we would like to assure residents that we are working as quickly as possible to fix the fault.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “This is wholly a Scottish Power problem and they are continuing to work towards a permanent solution. We appreciate that this is a major inconvenience for local people but the fault is not linked to the new LED lighting installed by the council. To identify the underlying fault, Scottish Power need to keep replacing fuses and ultimately may have to make changes to the sub station to permanently fix the problem.”