Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 12:37 UK

Lamppost protest halts removals

David Cemlyn chained to lamppost: picture by Claire Hombersley
Mr Cemlyn said his hunger strike aimed to show the strength of feeling

A council has suspended a streetlight replacement programme after a man went on hunger strike, chained to a lamppost, in protest at the work.

David Cemlyn, 66, was outraged that the Victorian-style cast-iron columns in St Andrew's, Bristol, were being replaced with more efficient, modern ones.

The old ones are being refurbished to "enhance the heritage" of conservation areas in the city such as Clifton.

The council said it had suspended work pending further talks with residents.

Selling heritage

Mr Cemlyn said his protest aimed to show the council the strength of local feeling against the new "eyesores".

"Isn't it strange you have to chain yourself to a lamppost at seven in the morning to get the council to talk to you," he said.

"We have won this battle but the war's not over yet - we want to stop them doing what they're doing and talk to the people of St Andrews and that's what they've agreed to do now," he added.

Notice on a lamppost in St Andrews
The council claims street lighting in St Andrew's is inadequate

Three weeks ago Mr Cemlyn said he left his house and found workmen digging up the Victorian lamppost outside his garden.

"I found out lampposts were being taken away to refurbish conservation areas and any extras were being sold to architectural salvage yards and the money raised was being spent on the conservation areas.

"It's flogging off the family silver," said Mr Cemlyn.

A city council spokesman said the lighting in St Andrew's was poor and did not meet environmental and safety standards.

"We have 181,000 households across the city to take into consideration and want the resources allocated for our citywide street lighting replacement programme to stretch as far as possible to help improve as many neighbourhoods as we can across Bristol."

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