Let there be light in town centre!

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The switching-on of Portadown’s Christmas lights will give “adequate street lighting” to the town for a short period

That’s according to Alderman Arnold Hatch and UUP colleague Kenneth Twyble have been trying for years to have the town’s “black hole” lights improved.

Said Mr Hatch. “They were allegedly improved a number of years ago with the public realms scheme, but since then, the town has had a ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ look about it. Prior to the new lights, there were standards on the middle strip of the town and on edge of the footpaths.

“Public realms saw the demise of all the standards – and of the standard of lighting. Now, the lights are attached to the walls at High Street and Market Street, and the town doesn’t have half the lighting power that it used to have .

“The central part is especially unacceptable. Kenneth has been fighting this one for years, but the DRD and the Assembly don’t appear to be listening. The advent of Christmas - will help us see more clearly for a few weeks.”

Mr Twyble raised the issue at the time of the public realm. “Nobody listened and the Craigavon wasn’t consulted over the lighting. It was a poor effort,” he added. “I contacted the DRD, but they insisted the lighting satisfied the laid-down criteria and that has been the attitude ever since.

“The problem was highlighted when the clocks went back.”

He added that he would be consulting MLAs Jo-Anne Dobson and Colin McCusker to see if anything could be done - “Portadown is in the dark, during mid-winter nights.”

A TransportNI spokesperson said: “The street lighting system in the centre of Portadown was installed by Craigavon Borough Council as part of the public realm works.

“Before TransportNI adopted the scheme it was extensively tested and the lighting levels were found to meet the relevant British Standard.

“TransportNI has no plans to increase the light levels in Portadown town centre beyond the levels recommended by the British Standard.”