Broken Birkfield Drive subway lights to be inspected this week

Birkfield Drive subway with only two lights, in the middle, working

Only two of the 14 lights at the Birkfield Drive underpass currently work, leading to safety and crime concerns - Credit: Tony Blacker

A contractor will inspect the broken lights in an Ipswich underpass, after a local campaigner spotted records that suggested they'd been out of action for eight years. 

In response to councillor Martin Cook's concerns regarding hundreds of Ipswich street lights in a state of disrepair, Labour candidate Tony Blacker noted that Suffolk County Council's records showed that nine of the 14 lights in the Birkfield Drive underpass had been broken since 2014. 

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said that "some work was carried out in the subway last year which police commented would make a difference to the residents" but the records hadn't been updated to reflect this. 

Mr Blacker acknowledged this, but added: "It's a chicken and egg situation. Is it because lots of crimes happen there that the lights are being damaged, or is the light damage attracting the crime? I suspect there's a bit of both. 

"I can sympathise with the council that they might repair it and people come along and intentionally damage it, but it can't be ignored, more needs to be done." 

The subway that links Birkfield Drive and Peterhouse Close should have 14 lights but only two are currently working, right in the middle of the walkway.

Ipswich Borough Gainsborough ward councillor Martin Cook

Ipswich Borough Gainsborough ward councillor Martin Cook has been leading a campaign for safer street lighting in Ipswich - Credit: MARTIN COOK

Mr Blacker continued: "Because of where it is, the only people that are going to be using it are locals and I don't feel that locals feel they have a voice; it's pointless asking because nobody is going to listen. 

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"Because of the connections I've got, I put something on Twitter and it becomes a big storm, but it shouldn't be whether the right person complains about it. 

"I'll be checking at least once a week because I know we're coming out of the winter months now, but people who live there, if they work a normal nine-to-five, they've been coming out in the dark and going home in the dark and it's not safe. 

"It doesn't help that area feel connected to the rest of Ipswich." 

The Suffolk County Council spokesman said that a contractor would be attending the site this week to see if they could repair or replace the units. 

He added: "This work is dependent on the supply being healthy."