REDCAR and Cleveland Council is predicting a very bright future for the Borough's residents after agreeing a £46million project to replace, upgrade and add to its street lighting stock.
Over 15,000 columns will be replaced - 85 per cent of the existing stock - and another 3,457 added in a phased programme across the Borough over the next five years, with a £1million a year maintenance budget in place for a further 25 years.
The Council has appointed David Webster Lighting, based in Hertfordshire, as its preferred bidder, through the Government-backed Private Finance Initiative scheme, with £21 million from the Government backed up by a £1 million a year maintenance commitment over the next 25 years from the Council.
The Council's Cabinet Chairman Councillor Eric Empson said: "This is a massive investment that has been waiting to happen for a very long time and will undoubtedly be endorsed by every one of our residents. The new columns will cut out 'light pollution' in many locations, which will mean the sky and the stars can be seen in all their glory.
"We are very pleased to announce that a major national company, David Webster Lighting, will be the preferred bidder for the project and, subject to successfully completing contract negotiations, will be delivering this vital service over the next 25 years."
The company's managing director Bertrand Richard said: "We look forward to working in partnership with the Council on this prestigious and exciting project to deliver a first class lighting service to the people of Redcar and Cleveland, creating safer and better-lit streets."
Councillor Empson, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Development and Infrastructure, explained: "Our surveys show the importance the public places on street lighting, with its rating as the third most important service, behind waste collection/recycling and street cleaning.
"What the public may not realise, but we have acknowledged for some time, is that the majority of our lighting stock doesn't meet the European standards and thousands have now passed their 25-year life expectancy.
"We've even discovered that the space between them is too much - that's why we're not only embarking on a replacement programme, but also putting in thousands of new columns."
A contract is expected to be signed and sealed in the next few months, with work ready to start next Spring following consultations with residents and the Police to determine priority areas.