District council to probe CCTV contract

East Lindsey District Council is setting up a scrutiny panel to look into controversy surrounding the contract for a new CCTV system.

CCTV camera (stock image)

The district council splashed out £400,000 on state-of-the-art digital cameras for seven market towns - Louth, Alford, Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea, Horncastle, Chapel St Leonards, Ingoldmells, and Skegness.

However, the roll out of 97 new cameras was delayed for several months as BT struggled to complete work to upgrade the system.

The delays led to a stand-off between the district council and BT who continued to charge £56,000 a year to keep the outdated system running.

Bid to remove phone boxes

At the time, ELDC’s deputy leader Graham Marsh admitted failings in the system were letting people down and he accused BT of holding the authority to ‘ransom’.

Coun Marsh sent a strongly worded letter to BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson. It was signed by all seven town councils and Lincolnshire Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.

District councillor and Mayor of Horncastle, Councillor Fiona Martin, will be on the panel. Earlier this month she told her fellow town councillors: “We (the panel) won’t be looking at whether CCTV works or not.

“If you remember, there were a lot of problems and delays installing the new equipment and other issues stemming from around that.

“Unfortunately, we can’t turn the clock back to the very start of the process but we will see what lessons can be learned.”

Louth Town Council’s representative on the CCTV Partnership, Councillor Eileen Ballard, told the Leader: “I am pleased to see that the scrutiny panel are convening, as it is always good that ELDC look at how the system is being used and their monies are being spent.”

She added: “We have had some delays with the bus station at Louth, with buildings being demolished where cameras had been situated, and new digital systems which had caused some delay.

“However, we are pretty close to resolving the problems that we have encountered and in the near future we hope to have the camera up and running at the bus station.

“In the meantime, the town’s system has continued to be monitored and recorded.”