BASILDON MP Stephen Metcalfe has called on Essex County Council to keep street lights on for an extra hour each night.

Tory Mr Metcalfe believes people remain as unhappy with the midnight to 5am switch-off as when it was introduced a year ago.

Last week, the county council rejected a proposal by Harlow Council to fund night lighting out of its own budget.

The South Basildon and East Thurrock MP said: “I am constantly made aware of anecdotal evidence that part night lighting is leading to an increase in certain crimes and certainly an increase in the fear of crime.

“Despite my constant call for a reversal of the policy, unfortunately at present the county council are not minded to change their view.”

“I am therefore calling on ECC to amend the rules to allow lights to stay on until 1am.

“This would allow more people to get home while the street lights are still on whether they are going home after a night out, making their way back from the station or returning home from work.

“This is not the perfect solution, but I believe it would be a step in the right direction and also show that despite our disagreement on this issue, I and the county council are still working together to find a more long term solution.”

Mr Metcalfe also called on the county council to speed up plans to trial LED lighting, which could be a money saving alternative to part night lighting.

Last week, Tory county councillor for highways Rodney Bass dismissed Harlow’s plan, which would have seen the district council pay £121,000 to keep county council lights switched on, as a “bizarre financial proposal”.