North Somerset Council finds £460k to pay for new lights at Castlewood

PUBLISHED: 17:13 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 07 June 2017

Castlewood in Clevedon.

Castlewood in Clevedon.

Archant

Almost half a million pounds will be spent upgrading lights at one of North Somerset Council’s office blocks, although a senior councillor says taxpayers will benefit in the long-run.

The council has moved many of its staff to Castlewood in Clevedon in the past decade and poured millions into creating a hub for various organisations to work under one roof, including North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.

However, even though the building is only a few years old, the council is now willing to spend about £461,000 on making its lights more energy efficient.

David Pasley, North Somerset’s executive member for finance, defended the payment, saying using the council’s taxpayers will see the the move prove cost-effective by 2023.

He said: “The important thing is the payback – the whole thing will pay for itself in six years.

“We are borrowing the money quite cheaply, and even with the interest, it will still pay for itself in a six-year period.”

The decision comes just three months after council tax bills were increased by 3.74 per cent. The council’s leader Nigel Ashton said it was a ‘last resort’ and a path the authority had been ‘forced down’ due to difficult savings targets.

Several council staff, including those working in libraries, have also been made redundant too in the past few weeks.

However, Cllr Pasley said the job was a large one and the council had to balance the needs of employees against the public purse.

He said: “There are thousands of bulbs and we have to make a decision to pay it now or do it in five to 10 years – these are good for the environment and give better light.

“We are looking at reduced energy costs and we consider this a sensible approach.”

He said the council is able to bulk-buy electricity and hopes it will be in a position to offer rates to homeowners and businesses in the future which will allow them to gain their own supplies at a reduced rate.

Cllr Pasley believes the district’s homeowners could save about 25 per cent off their electricity bills if they participate in the scheme.


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