AN Ilkley councillor has sought reassurances that due consideration will be given to conservation and heritage areas when Bradford Council replaces the district’s street lighting.

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) was speaking as Bradford Council approved new street lighting proposals at a meeting of the executive on Tuesday.

Under the Council’s Smart Street Lighting project, 59,000 lights will be upgraded using the latest light emitting diodes saving around £2m per year in energy costs.

The new lights will be more environmentally friendly reducing the Council’s street lighting power consumption by 65 per cent and its carbon emissions by over 6000 tonnes per year.

Cllr Hawkesworth said: “Replacing with LED units should be a priority for the district. I think many householders from a sheer cash perspective are moving in that direction

“Obviously the business case has to add up but with the assistance of interest free loans hopefully it will. Wearing my former heritage champion hat I would like assurances that due consideration is given to conservation and heritage areas as to replacement street lighting columns.

“In some areas Edwardian columns still exist - will they be convertible?”

Cllr Hawkesworth in particular flagged up the need to retain the two columns in front of Ilkley Town Hall and others which play a part in the town’s heritage infrastructure.

In response to her questions Cllr Hawkesworth was informed by a Bradford Council officer: “It is my intention to take heritage and bespoke assets out of the contracted part of the project and these will be considered on an individual basis for conversion rather than replacement and delivered using our in house teams.”

The officer added: “...the whole asset base will be surveyed prior to the works so that we can identify the heritage assets in advance and therefore have time to consider the appropriate conversion.”

A Bradford Council spokesperson, told the Gazette: “The Smart Street Lighting project, in cooperation with the Council’s conservation team, will carefully consider heritage areas and decorative columns and lanterns. Suitable units will be converted to LED whilst preserving their historic value and aesthetics.”

Along with the LED lantern replacements, around 17,000 lampposts will be replaced in the upgrade which is expected to take approximately five years and cost £45M.

The project will save tax payers an estimated £189m over 50 years.

The Smart Street Light project is to be part funded (£15.12m) by Salix Finance which provides interest free loans for public sector energy saving initiatives. The rest will be financed through prudential borrowing.