Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did you make this site?
I made this site because I am a web developer. It seemed like the last, best, option left to me in order to get Wirral Council to take action in order to repair and maintain the street lights on Wirral.
Q: The last option? Why do you say that?
We had a street light out opposite our house for more than a year. We were slow to report it initially as we naively thought the council monitored and regularly maintained street lights. Our foolishness meant the light stayed off for months. We eventually reported it three times, roughly three months apart each time. We waited because we thought they were just busy, but we believed they would definitely arrive. On two of the occasions we reported it the council informed us there was “no record” of our previous request to have it fixed. My partner contacted them by phone, email and the streetlighting online form, but nothing seemed to work. We did learn to keep our own records when dealing with the council though.
When the light was eventually “fixed” roughly nine months later, it stayed on 24/7 and was held together by tape. I now use an image of that light as my social media avatar. The light is still held together by electrical tape and switched on during many daylight hours – two years later (see photo).
We have now given up reporting it. Having “Old Faithful” repaired almost seems like sacrilege. It has been like that for so long.
These events did not motivate me to create this site though.
The Famous “Fifty Lights” Quote
The final straw occurred while driving late one night. I saw approximately fifty street lights out while driving a few miles from my home in Poulton to New Brighton and back. It annoyed me that Wirral Council could be so lax. I decided to take action to change things. Accordingly, I made notes and took photos of the lights. Collection of evidence to support my complaint seemed appropriate as the situation was so unbelievable.
Following this, I attended Wallasey Constituency meeting (September, 2016) in order to voice my concerns. There I met a number of council workers and three Labour councillors from my home electoral ward of Seacombe (Adrian Jones, Chris Jones and Paul Stuart). They all made concerned noises and promised that if I made a report via email that action would be taken. To be fair, Paul Stuart acknowledged the problem as he had noticed similar on his own drive home from work and had already made his own enquiries.
30 days later, despite receiving some email correspondence, all the original lights were still broken, switched off, displaying intermittent faults etc.
Trying a New Tack
I then contacted an opposition Conservative councillor, Ian Lewis. He was kind enough to ask a question on my behalf in a council meeting. Questions raised by councillors in session have to be answered and so I was hopeful of a result. In due course I received an email from Mr Lewis asking me to contact individuals in the council and detail the situation. I was told that the council held no record of my contact details, or the route along which I had seen so many lights out. History appeared to be repeating itself – another lost report. Never the less I replied to the email and detailed the problems as best as I could (October, 2016).
As requested, I detailed the full route. I also supplied a spreadsheet of all the lamps, locations and any other relevant information for approximately half the route – my home to New Brighton end of Seabank Road. While out taking photos and cataloguing the route it became apparent that wandering around at night, often in the pitch black, with expensive electronics was not the wisest thing to be doing. Hence I only fully detailed half the route.
90 Day Summary
Up until last week (when I registered this domain) I was unaware of any lights that had been repaired (November, 2016). Recently some lights have either been repaired, or the software faults have been cleared. Either way, a small number of the lights I initially reported are now working – a small victory, but there is more to be done.
While this account does not detail every twist and turn, I hope it sheds some light on why I am annoyed enough to open a website about this issue. Hopefully it also explains why I am sceptical about the current council administrations intent and ability to really solve this problem.
My aim is to see a significant reduction in the 100+ defective street lights in Wallasey before we reach Spring 2017!
Q: More than one hundred defective lights?
Yes. Definitely. And that is just Wallasey.
Once I became involved with this issue it became apparent the problem was widespread. People informed me through social media that they were having issues with street lights in many areas. I have now seen more than one hundred lights out in Wallasey alone.
Q: If there are so many broken lights why haven’t you listed them all?
Please understand, defective street lights are only added to this site after they have been reported to the council. This policy seems fair, as perhaps the council are unaware of the extent of the problem, although I doubt it.
I have photographed most of the broken lights that I know of. Reporting them takes time, as does creating the report pages on this site. Wirralstreetlights.com is a new website. In time I hope to list them all.
Why “Wirral” Street Lights? Why not “Wallasey” Street Lights?
The reason I opened this website is that the problem is obviously bigger than just one town. Wirral Borough Council are responsible for lighting across Wirral. From conversations on social media it seems very likely that other areas are having similar problems. This site is my offer to others to get involved. Lets try to change things for the better.