IT sounds like the start of a bad joke – how long does it take the council to put in a light bulb?
But parents with kids at Currie Children’s Nursery were not laughing after being told it will take at least 11 years to get new lighting installed in the area, despite concerns about safety.
Council chiefs wrote to the nursery to say they will not be in a position to introduce new street lighting in the area until 2024 – because funding is being spent on maintaining existing lampposts.
Following the Evening News’ involvement, council chiefs have now agreed to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
Mother-of-two Susan Anderson, whose three-year-old daughter Abby attends the nursery on Riccarton Mains Road, was among the parents to receive a letter from the council in response to their concerns about the dangers involved with collecting and dropping their children off at the private nursery in the dark.
Ms Anderson, who lives in Currie, said: “Riccarton Mains Road is a very fast and very dark road in the winter. A number of parents collect their children on foot and there have been a fair few near misses of late, with cars not seeing pedestrians and children entering or leaving the nursery. There is no pavement on the side of the road where the nursery is.
“The nursery has raised the issue with the council at least three times. The response I got said they had no budget for new street lighting and this was the case for the next 11 years.”
The IT developer added: “I find it hard to believe that the council has no budget for 11 years for a new streetlamp, especially when the nursery is on a road that is known in the past to be a problem area with cars going fast.
“It’s only a matter of time before there’s another accident.”
The council letter sent to Ms Anderson stated that there was currently “no budget available to light unlit roads”.
It added that there were 22,000 concrete columns – lampposts – across the city, many of which are in a poor condition, and the street lighting budget is “fully committed for the next 11 years to this essential programme of works”.
Mother-of-two Lauren Potter, whose son Finlay, four, and daughter Eilidh, two, attend the nursery, said: “I was really disappointed with the letter because driving into or out of the nursery from that road is like driving into a black hole.”
Transport and environment convener Lesley Hinds said the matter had just been brought to her attention and that she fully sympathised.
“I have now raised this particular case with the director of services for communities and will be looking to get the matter resolved as soon as possible,” she said.
WHAT THE LETTER SAID
I can advise that we currently have no budget available to light unlit roads. Whilst we understand your concerns regarding safety, our budget is fully committed to maintaining our existing street lighting infrastructure.
To put this in context, there are currently 22,000 concrete columns across the city, many of which are in a poor condition and therefore, the street lighting budget is fully committed for the next eleven years to this essential programme of works.