Battling the Street Lights

About 6 weeks ago we had a brochure through the door telling us about the new street lights, why they needed to be replaced and that we as residents would be given more details nearer the time or to look on the SSE website.
Nothing appeared on the website re our area until on Friday 13th a circle appeared outside our house. We live in one of a  pair of semi detached Grade II listed thatched cottages in a conservation area.

Today a lorry turned up with two contractors, from SSE the contractor who are handling the new street light contract for Dorset County. They dug a huge hole outside our gate and told us that was where the new street light was going.
A tall monstrous grey pole about 8m high was the put up narrowly missing the two sets of telephone lines across the front, higher than our cottage and centrally in front of our cottage.

We discovered after numerous phone calls to Dorset County Council, SSE and English Heritage that notification was not given to residents and one of the conditions that SSE accepted when agreeing the the contract for street lighting was that they would not have to give any prior notification to any residents about the time or position or placement! A fact hotly denied by SSE, but admitted by a Dorset CC personnel ( with a witness).

After several hours of trying to get in contact with someone at the top in SSC my husband spoke to their operations director who agreed it was in a totally inappropriate placing and it would be removed by this afternoon, which it has been and he is visiting myself and my neighbour on Wednesday to ensure all is satisfactory!

I had heard of many horror stories of huge tall new street lights being put up with no consultation and being totally inappropriate for the surrounding area or simply glaring into people’s bedrooms and private spaces ( gardens), so was very surprised to hear them back down and agree to remove it so quickly.

It seems farcical that to change our front door colour or shape of our front porch we would have to seek not only local authority planning permission but also permission from English Heritage and yet a huge 8m steel grey monster of a street light can be put up wherever the contractors see fit with no prior consent or planning permission!

I would urge people when faced with situations like this to question the decisions made and push for a rational explanation and if possible a change of plan as it is often decisions made in remote offices with no local knowledge that cause these problems. If it wasn’t for my husband’s determination and patience this eyesore would have been sat outside a pair of 17th Century grade II listed thatched cottages!