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Harlow's Street lights to be switched back on overnight

Street lights to be switched back on overnight in Harlow Credit: ITV News Anglia

A controversial decision to switch off street lights in an Essex town has been reversed.

Harlow Council and Essex County Council have reached an agreement to keep the lights switched on overnight seven days a week.

In February Harlow agreed to put its council tax up by 1.5 per cent to fund it and now Essex County Council has accepted the offer. They've both agreed and the lights will be switched back on when the clocks change this weekend.

It will cost Harlow Council around £106,000 a year to fund which will be reviewed annually at the end of October for the next four years.

The agreement between the two Councils will see Harlow Council pay for the additional electricity and arising CO2 emissions with Essex County Council continuing to be responsible for the maintenance of the lights.

Harlow Council will also support Essex County Council on any initiatives to explore trialling the use of more energy efficient lighting to help reduce costs for Council taxpayers.

"Keeping Harlow's street lights on responds to the genuine concerns of the community and businesses, and takes into account Harlow's needs as a urban town. Many shift workers walking to or cycling to and from work want to see where they are going and that is the same for the many people returning home from a night out leading up to or during the weekend. We know this will have a positive impact on businesses and that the fear of crime, particularly at night, will reduce for some of our older residents."

– Cllr Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council

In Harlow, Essex County Council is responsible for 9,005 lights with around 85% per cent being switched off overnight since March 2014 between 12 midnight to 5am under its part-night street lighting policy.

The County Council's policy was amended across the County in March 2015 with lights switching off between 12midnight and 5am one day a week and from 1am to 5am six days a week.

"I have carefully reviewed Harlow's plan to finance the streetlights to remain on at night for at least the next four years. This is a good example of devolution in practice, where the county council is listening to local communities and identifying ways to devolve responsibility to district partners."

– Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council

Norfolk on list of shame for job pay

Two areas in the East of England have been revealed as being in the list of top ten local authorities which have the highest number of jobs which pay below the living wage.

Breckland came fourth, with 39.3% of jobs paying below the living wage.

North Norfolk came sixth, with 37.8% of jobs paying below the living wage.

South Cambridgeshire on the other hand, came third in a list of ten places with the lowest number of jobs which pay below the living wage, just 10.1%.

Out of all the authorities, which exclude London, West Somerset was shown to have the worst rates of pay and Runnymede the best.


Police warn Norfolk shopkeepers about fake £50 notes

Fake £50 notes have been found in circulation in the Norwich area.

Norfolk Police are warning shopkeepers to be on their guard against fake £50 notes in circulation.

There have been four reports of counterfeit bank notes being passed in the Norwich area.

The first incident was on Thursday 17 September at the Co-op in Dereham Road, Costessey when two notes were handed over. The following day the Jet petrol station in Rose Lane, Norwich was targeted.

Police say One Stop in Town Green, Wymondham was also hit on Friday 18 September and the BP garage in Costessey on Sunday 20 September.

"Shop workers are asked to be vigilant and to carry out basic checks and making use of ultra-violet equipment, which most stores have."

– Norfolk Police

Foodbanks in the East see summer surge in demand

Foodbanks across the region are seeing a surge in demand this summer. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Foodbanks across the region are seeing a surge in demand this summer as families struggle to afford food for children who'd normally get free school meals.

A recent survey suggests a third of parents on lower than average incomes are skipping meals so their children can eat properly during the six week break.

"It does bring a panic when it comes to summer holidays, because when your children are at school, they get their free school meals, because when you're on benefits you do get the pupil premium.

However, when it's the summer holidays they're at home every day, so they're eating more."

– Sharon Deeming, mother

Battle to keep rural banks as hundreds set to close

Bank customers at HSBC in Reepham queue for the cash machine. Credit: Natalie Gray / ITV News Anglia

The 3,000 residents of Reepham in Norfolk will have nowhere to bank from October when HSBC closes its doors.

The soaring popularity of digital banking both online and on smart phones is being blamed.

More than 500 bank branches are expected to disappear from Britain's high streets in 2015 forcing residents of many communities to travel miles to their nearest bank.

The major lenders seem to have ditched a commitment to keep open 'the last bank in town', putting almost 900 branches in smaller towns and villages at risk of closure too.

Traders warn it'll be the death of the market town if the town's only bank and cash point goes. And elderly residents say they can't get to the nearest HSBC branch in Dereham 11 miles away.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray


Six months away but which Christmas toys are going to be big this year?

It's just six months exactly or 183 days until Christmas Day. Credit: ITV News

Not wanting to wish away the summer but it's just six months exactly or 183 days until Christmas Day and High Street stores are already looking at what will be big this festive period.

None more so than toy shops which do most of their trade over the winter months.

From a new look Tracey Island from Thunderbirds to yet more Disney Frozen toys, Christmas lists are already being written.

So which toys are expected to dominate the market this year?

Click below to find out by watching a report by David Wood

Cambridge house prices increase five-fold in two decades

House prices in Cambridge have risen faster than any other part of the UK outside London. Credit: ITV News Anglia

House prices in Cambridge have risen five-fold in since 1995 according to new figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

The median sale price of a house in the city in 2014 was £350,000, up from £70,000 in 1995. That is a 400% increase and the biggest rise of any area of the country outside London.

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