Way back in 2006 began a project that still causes queries to this very day - the upgrading of some but not all of the lamposts in the village. The project was lengthy and complex but if you are interested in why the lamposts on Estcourt Rd and not Valley Rd were replaced, and why a loan was taken out to cover the cost, we've tried to give you a summary below:
In 2005/2006, Darrington Parish Council were made aware of WMDC’s intention to upgrade the lighting in the village in line with their general upgrade throughout the area. The lighting standard had been increased and the cheapest way for WMDC to comply with the higher requirements was to install brighter lights at a higher level.
The lights on Valley Rd had already in previous years been upgraded due to their poor state, and were already compliant with the new standard.
The height of the lamp posts chosen was 10 metres; like the new one opposite the Spread Eagle car park, and it was brought to the Parish Council’s attention that some residents felt that 10 metre lamp posts were inappropriate in the semi-rural setting of Darrington.
The Parish Council approached WMDC to explore options; it had been noted that some villages such as Badsworth and Wooley had had more appropriate lighting installed. WMDC informed the council that both Badsworth and Wooley were designated Heritage Sites and as such, more appropriate lighting had been installed at WMDC’s expense. They informed the council that Darrington could have similar lights installed but the extra cost would have to be met by the Parish Council.
With no idea of the costs involved the Parish Council were asked to propose a scheme which WMDC would cost.
There then began a lengthy period of negotiation with WMDC; during this consultation period it transpired that there would be certain limits on the options available.
The road from the traffic lights to the Spread Eagle was found to be too wide for the 6 metre units proposed for the rest of the scheme.
WMDC stated that they had no intention of changing the lights on Valley road as there were already enough to meet the new regulations (as they had more recently been upgraded); this meant that if the council were to include Valley Road in the scheme we would have to pay for complete new lamp posts, not just the difference between the price of standard units and the ones proposed.
Though the proposed Abbey style lamps emit the same light as the WMDC standard unit s, they are only 6 metres high, and there would therefore, need to be more installed to cover the same area as with WMDC standard lights.
This then left the option of a scheme to cover the section of Estcourt road from the Spread Eagle to the A1 flyover.
The Parish Council took the view after much consultation and negotiation that this represented the heart of the village and any improvement in this area would benefit the whole surroundings, as had been the case at Badsworth and Wooley where only the main road through these villages had been included in the prestigious upgrade.
The council decided that this central area should include Church Lane and Phillips lane which are currently being considered for Heritage status. This scheme was then sent to WMDC for costing, and enquiries were made into the possibility of taking out a loan to fund the project as at the time, there was in the funds little over & above the cost which would be incurred in the following year.
When WMDC gave us the cost of the project the Parish Council decided to seek the approval of the residents before committing to the scheme. Though there is no necessity for any consultation we believed that it would be wrong to proceed if it were to be against the wishes of the residents. With this in mind many options were considered, an EGM was considered but we eventually decided that the fairest way would be to make sure that everyone was given the opportunity to express their opinion privately.
The Parish Council made every effort to give every resident an opportunity to express their opinion, and 187 replies were received of which 141 were in favour of proceeding, 45 were against and there was one spoilt paper. As a result of this the decision to accept the scheme was made at the monthly meeting in July, and the rest is history!
Hopefully this has given you a better understanding why the improvements sadly couldn't be extended throughout the full length of the village - should it ever again become a possibility, rest assured the opportunity would be thoroughly investigated!