Havering’s ‘Streets in the Sky’

Tower Block Residents

High rise tenants and leaseholders pay for communal lighting as a separate charge. This additional to Council tax. Apart from Tower Block Residents Council tax covers street lighting, which is part of the service embedded within the tax.

Havering residents not living in Tower Blocks

Street lighting is simply ‘there’ for those living on horizontal streets.

A modern street scene with small townhouses lit by street lamps. 

On the other hand Tower Block Residents have to pay for their street lighting despite the fact that a tower block is a vertical street.

Lighting for a vertical street


Lighting in stairways, lifts and communal areas must have lighting, which is on 24/7. It’s essential that lifts, lobbies and basement areas are well lit at all times for Health and Safety reasons, which hardly needs remarking on. Additionally tower blocks have to install emergency lighting through the use of a battery or generator.

Tower blocks are ‘Streets in the Sky’ but unlike ‘horizontal’ streets Tower Block Residents pay for street lighting twice. Like everyone else they pay Council Tax and then a further amount as part of the rent or leaseholder charge for amenity lighting. Worse than this is the fact that the so-called ‘administration’ charge is completely opaque. It feels like a disguised profit margin to many tenants.

Tower Block Residents subsidise non-tower block residents. This injustice has been going on for decades and needs to be changed. Why should the poorest people in Havering pay twice for lighting?

People who live on an ordinary street, pay for street lighting as part of the Council Tax charge. Those living in Council high rise flats pay a Service Charge of £992.03. from which the communal electricity charge is extracted. The levy is currently £134.69 in addition to Council Tax, which is about £1,197.23 p.a.

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