Fate of Reading's cast iron lamp-posts goes to public consultation

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Media captionReplacing antique street lights is destroying a town's heritage, campaigners say.

Plans to replace a town's 200-year-old street lights have been put on hold amid an outcry from campaigners.

The cast-iron lamp-posts - which originally housed gas-powered lamps - were set to be switched for modern versions by Reading Borough Council.

But locals said the antique street furniture, produced in local foundries in the 19th Century, gave the town its spirit.

A consultation will be held before any work commences, the council said.

The number of iron street lights in Reading has fallen from 700 to 400 since 2016.

'Original Victorian character'

Only lamp-posts which have structural faults or were a risk to public safety would be replaced, the council said.

Residents of the Bell Tower area of the town, where 21 of the lights are clustered in four terraced streets, were among those to complain about the plans.

"There are very few of them left in the country, and they reflect the original Victorian character of the area", said David Neale from the Bell Tower Community Association.

"They have already been satisfactorily retro-fitted for electric lighting, so believe that it should be possible for them to be fitted with modern lighting".

Image copyright Bell Tower Community Association
Image caption The street lights were made in local foundries in the 19th century

Deputy council leader Tony Page said: "We fully appreciate the heritage value of cast iron columns, and our preference is of course to keep these columns in place wherever possible."

He also said the council will not remove any of the cast-iron columns while it consults with local residents about their future.

Image copyright Reading Library
Image caption The lamp-posts have been on the streets of Reading since the early 19th Century

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