Great Aycliffe Town Council has agreed a deal which will save a stretch of lights along the A167 in the town.
Durham County Council plans to remove street lights on stretches of the A167 from the A1 at Aycliffe to the Cock ‘o’ the North roundabout, near Durham City, in late summer or early autumn this year.
The move is aimed to cut carbon emissions and save cash on electricity.
But local councillors and campaigners criticised the decision, saying it would endanger lives.
A Service Level Agreement, drawn up with DCC, was approved by Great Aycliffe Town Council’s full council last night (Wednesday 16th July) after it was first approved by the local authority’s environment committee on 1st July.
Although the agreement is yet to be formally entered into with DCC, Aycliffe Council leader Bob Fleming doesn’t envisage any problems.
He told Aycliffe Today: “We felt we had a duty to stand up for the town and even though there’s a cost attached to this, it was the right thing to do.
“When Durham County first started looking a cost-saving measures, it was the type of light bulbs they were using that they were looking at, but they suddenly decided to just take them out in rural areas.
“The stretch of the A167 through Aycliffe is a busy route. It was a trunk road until two years ago but remains the busiest road in the County running through the biggest town in the County – it didn’t make sense to take the lights out altogether.
“They said it was after consultation, but there was no consultation whatsoever, and many felt the lights had to stay.
“We’ve agreed a Service Level Agreement which has now been passed unanimously by full council, so we will look to enter into the agreement with the County in a matter of weeks.”
As part of the deal, Aycliffe Council will take on the running costs of the lights over a 10-year period.
The town council would pay the county council the costs of electricity supply and maintenance of about 82 lights, with £46,000 due up front.
John Reed, head of technical services at Durham County Council, said: “The agreement is yet to be formally entered into.
“Under the agreement we would continue to maintain these lights while the town council would fund the maintenance and energy costs over a 10-year period.”