THERE’S been a mixed response to new street lamps being installed on an historic high street.

Leading members of Yarm Residents Association described the 34 new, 30ft-high heritage-style lamps on Yarm High Street as “thoughtless vandalism.”

However, Yarm Town Council has previously welcomed Stockton Borough Council’s £500,000 refurbishment of the High Street, which includes the £150,000 lamps.

Members of Yarm Residents Association (YRA) objected, claiming the lights are being installed as part of the council’s controversial pay and display parking after Easter - to make it easier for cameras to read car number plates.

In a statement, YRA chairman, Martin Kenefec, said they were unsympathetic to the street's 18th century character.

“These are monstrous objects to inflict upon the High Street, the whole of which forms part of a conservation area," he added.

Secretary of Yarm Resident's Association, Chris Bailey an architectural designer, who also lives in the High Street, argued residents weren't consulted properly.

He added that the lights were so bright he couldn’t sleep and that the council should pay for residents to install blinds.

Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, defended the new lighting.

He said: “We have planned these works very carefully alongside Yarm Town Council, the Chamber of Trade and the Showmen’s Guild to make sure that they are sympathetic to the High Street’s unique character and attractive environment.”

Previously Peter Monck, chairman of Yarm Town Council, has publicly welcomed Stockton council’s overall refurbishment, especially the area around Yarm Town Hall.

The number of street lamps will rise from 19 to 34.