Warwick residents' anger over '˜40ft' street light

The residents of a historical house in Warwick have become angry and concerned after the council placed a '˜40ft' street light outside their home.

Saturday, 6th May 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:33 pm
Ian Downie looking up at the street light that has been placed outside his house on West Street in Warwick.

Ian Downie and his wife Clare live at The Malt House in West Street, which is a building that has been in the town for nearly 400 years.

Around two weeks ago Warwickshire County Council’s highways team relocated a street light outside the couple’s property.

According to the council a fault was found with the original light on West Street and so removed it but found the council could not put a replacement in the same place because of costs so it was relocated outside the Malt House.

The new street light in West Street in Warwick. Photo by Martyn Ashford

Ian said: “Warwick is such a historic town. Clare’s family has owned the house since 1943 and it dates back to the 1600s.

“It is a listed property so that means we are dictated to what we can and can’t do. But the council can put a light outside the property without any consent or discussion.”

The couple have been 
doing work to the house to keep it part of the town’s heritage.

Ian said: “We have a building that is photographed quite a lot and in the past year we have been working on the outside of the property.

The new street light in West Street in Warwick. Photo by Martyn Ashford

“We spoke to the planning people as it is mock Tudor outside so when we were 
replacing the wood timber 
we wanted to keep it conventional wood but we have got to paint it black.

“We can’t have different colours but they can put a 40ft light outside our property.

“On Castle Lane they have more historic-looking lights that look like gas lights and are only 20ft but we have a 40ft light that looks like it should be on the M6.”

The couple were concerned about the level of light pollution the new light would cause and their concerns became a reality on Tuesday night when the light was switched on.

Ian said: “The light affects all three bedrooms in particular as they are at the front of the property.

“Our biggest concerns is that the council can put a light in front of any other historic building in Warwick without any consideration, discussion or consideration of listed buildings.”

Warwick councillor Martyn Ashford said: “It is just ridiculous to think people have to jump through hoops to develop properties in the conservation area when the county council can come along and put this up with no consultation in front of somebody’s house.

“The council is driving a coach and horses through regulations.”

A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: “Routine maintenance of a streetlight on West Street revealed a fault and it was subsequently removed on November 1, 2016.

“As a number of other services were sited at this location it would have been difficult to install a new streetlight in the same place without running into considerable expense.

“The immediate area was investigated to find a suitable alternative location, and given the nature of this street and the location of trees, the only feasible alternative was to move the streetlight to the other side of the road.”