THE battle over Penarth’s lampposts may have reached a compromise, as the Vale council announced new, Victorian-style lampposts to replace the old versions.

This follows claims from a civic group that the original lampposts were structurally safe.

As the Penarth Times previously reported, Victorian lampposts across Penarth were being replaced earlier this year with modern LED lighting, with the Vale council citing concerns the existing posts were structurally unsafe.

The removal of the posts prompted a community backlash. More than 1,100 people signed a petition to save the Victorian lamp posts, fearing a “loss of valuable historic character from the streetscape in Penarth”.

A Vale council spokesman said: "“The council has recently approved a more suitable replacement column for the old Victorian lampposts which will be painted black and feature embellishments to match the Victorian period style as well as having a swan neck arrangement that will accommodate a suspended LED lantern to meet its energy reduction strategy. It is intended to roll out this replacement column by replacing the previously installed steel columns along Cwrt y Vil Road before the end of this calendar year."

Penarth Civic Society alleged the posts were safe in a letter sent last week to the Vale council’s head of visible services and council leader Neil Moore.

David Noble of the Penarth Civic Society said: “We would like to ask that the programme of removal and replacement of Victorian lampposts in Penarth is suspended with immediate effect.

“We are completely in favour of the council’s policy to replace old inefficient street lighting with modern more energy efficient LED lighting units. However, we are firmly of the opinion that not enough effort has gone into the decision.

“It seems that the council is spending over £1,000 on replacing each lamppost. When two posts in Kymin Terrace and Beach Lane were converted, the contractor expressed concern that the spigot on the column was not strong enough to support the new unit. We believe this remains the sole justification for the claim the units are unsound.

“We have been in contact with several street lighting contractors. They have all confirmed as long as the posts are structurally sound at their base there is no reason they cannot be upgraded.

“We feel the decision to scrap the old columns was taken prematurely, without proper consideration and is motivated by a desire for expedience rather than sensibility and care.”

A Vale council spokesman said: “The council has a duty to ensure that the street lighting is in a safe condition and does not pose a hazard to the general public. As a result, a number of the older Victorian lampposts in Penarth were recently replaced because they were considered electrically and structurally unsafe with holes evident in some columns. Given the many safety concerns with these old columns it was not practical or cost-effective to attempt repairs and maintain appropriate level of public safety.

“The council is confident the new replacement columns will address many of the concerns previously raised and enable the remaining unsafe Victorian cast iron columns throughout Penarth to be sympathetically replaced in 2020, preserving the character and nature of the roads and streets which currently benefit from the visual appearance of the old Victorina cast iron columns.

“While the new replacement columns with embellishments and swan neck are more expensive than standard columns the cost will be offset by conversion to LED lanterns with significant environment benefits as they produce less Co2 and will be more economical to operate over the lifetime of the new units.”