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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Residents furious after being left in dark over DfI decision to ‘cut off’ decorative lantern lights

LED Streetlights at Millwater Lodge, Ahoghill.

The original lantern style lighting, replaced by the LED light heads (inset).

A number of local residents say they've been 'left in the dark' after Department for Infrastructure (DfI) contractors arrived last week and cut off the tops of decorative lantern-styled streetlights and replaced them with "ugly" lighting heads.

Furious residents reached out this week to local councillors and Love Ballymena to voice their anger and concerns.

Workers, contracted by the Department for Infrastructure, arrived at Millwater Lodge, in Ahoghill, last Friday morning (23rd February) around 8:00am and proceeded to cut the lanterns off the cast iron decorative streetlights before fitting new 'modern' LED lighting heads.

Residents woke up and were dismayed at the scene. Those who purchased their properties when the development of houses was released, paid an extra £2,000 per property in order to have the decorative street lighting fitted. They had not been made aware of any impending changes.

The footpaths and streetlighting were adopted by DfI when the development was completed, and per Department policy, no consultation is usually employed for changes such as the type of street lights used.

But for the angry residents, the 'industrial, robotic look' of the LED light heads has ruined the aesthetics on their street. One local resident told commented:

"I am angered by the complete lack of consulation,  warning or information from the Department for Infrastructure. They simply appeared at 8am on the Friday 23rd February and began cutting off the top of the streetlights.

"I am upset - the aesthetics of the whole cul-de-sac has been ruined."

As well as Millwater Lodge, it has been reported that the lantern-styled light heads have also been removed and replaced with LED lighting in Trinity Mews and Millwater Court.

Currently lantern style lighting remains in place at Killane Manor and Brookhill Mews, Ahoghill.

LED Streetlights at Millwater Lodge, Ahoghill.

Love Ballymena asked the Department for Infrastructure for comment on the work carried out in Ahoghill. A Departmental spokesperson said:

“Due to the savings that can be achieved in energy and maintenance costs, light emitting diode (LED) lighting units, are now the preferred choice for the Department’s Street Lighting network.


“Given the significant budget pressures the Department is facing, the substantial price difference between installing a replacement decorative lantern and a standard LED unit cannot be justified, especially as no additional funding is provided to maintain lighting units above the standard fittings.


“Decorative type lanterns are therefore assessed on a case-by-case basis and if deemed unrepairable a standard LED lantern is fitted."


Though there might be hope for the local residents. The DfI spokesperson added:

“The decorative lanterns at Millwater Lodge have been removed to assess if they can be refurbished with a suitable LED gear tray. If this proves to be possible, they will be re-erected once work is complete.”

Bannside TUV Alderman Stewart McDonald, was one of the local councillors residents contacted.

Ald. McDonald told Love Ballymena:

“I have been approached by a number of residents in Millwater Lodge following changes to street lighting which has been carried out without consultation. Lantern style lighting - which residents paid extra for when they purchased their homes - has been removed and replaced with ugly lighting heads which are totally out of style with the lampposts.

“Having contacted DfI about the issue, I am advised that the rationale is that the light emitting diode (LED) lighting units are the “preferred choice" for the Department’s street lighting network.

“I have, however, also been told that the decorative lanterns are being assessed if they can be refurbished with a LED gear tray. Should that prove to be possible, they will be re-erected once work is complete.

“I very much hope that it is possible to replace the lanterns. If not, I will be contacting the Department, as what residents have been left with at the moment is totally unacceptable.”


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