A guest post from Janel Blattler, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Katesgrove ward in May 2012 Local Elections.

As I live just off Elgar Road, the Katesgrove Lane Underpass is my usual pedestrian route into town. If I needed to come home after dark, I would intentionally avoid the underpass.

I figured that others would have similar concerns about the underpass, so I spoke to Rebecca Rye and Warren Swaine, our Lib Dem councillors in Katesgrove about the issue. I was pleased to hear the team had already been working on this issue. While he was still a councillor, Gareth Epps, along with Warren applied for a grant from the Safer Reading funding to improve the underpass lighting. But for reasons unknown, there was an ongoing delay in obtaining a quote to replace the lights.

Given the recent crimes in the area, I sought to get an answer to when we could expect the upgraded lighting. So, I submitted a question to the council’s cabinet meeting on 12 March 2012, questioning the delay and requesting a date to install the upgraded lighting: “Would the council please explain to Katesgrove residents when we could expect to see the upgraded lights in the Katesgrove Lane Underpass.”

Councillor Page, the Lead Councillor for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, said:

“The replacement of the lighting in the Katesgrove Underpass will be completed by the end of March 2012. The delay has been caused by the need to source a more cost effective lighting fitting and the long lead in times for their supply”

Janel Blattler, Warren Swaine & Rebecca Rye admiring the underpass lighting

Janel Blattler, Warren Swaine & Rebecca Rye admiring the underpass lighting

Much to my delight, the council upgraded the lighting just two days after I asking the question to cabinet! It’s proven to be a popular discussion topic both on the doorstep and at the Katesgrove Residents’ Association.

It’s made a marked improvement on the lighting in the underpass — though now it’s made the graffiti on the mural more visible! Needless to say, the next item to tackle in the underpass is the graffiti that’s ruined the mural.