Following a consultation with residents and heritage bodies - which attracted more than 1200 representations - the proposed conversion of 174 gas lamps to LED was stopped in its tracks.
“Public safety has always been our prime consideration, but we also acknowledge the strong heritage issues at stake,” Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said.
Instead, 94 non-listed gas lamps will be converted to LED, but will replicate the “soft honey lighting glow” of the gas lamps, the council revealed on Tuesday, and will be fitted with replica mantles, piping and clocks.
Designs of three replacement lantern styles will reflect detail of the original lanterns, following consultation with Historic England an other heritage bodies.
The council heard from Westminster residents and residents’ groups in Bayswater and Knightsbridge, who urged the council to replace the gas lamps with LED lights as part of its wider commitments on climate action.
Concerns remain around growing delays experienced in repairing the gas pipes which service the lamps, the council pointed out.
“This leaves some streets in darkness for extended periods and poses a genuine safety risk for residents and visitors.
“The council will work with suppliers and partners such as Cadent Gas to resolve this issue. However the council may need to electrify other gas lamps where we face lengthy delays to repairs or it becomes too costly or unsafe not to.”
Consultation on the lamps was put on hold by the previous administration before the local council elections in May.
The newly elected council reactivated and widened the consultation to include three on-site public presentations which more than 100 people attended.
The listed gas lamps are on: Albany Courtyard, Bedford Street, Buckingham Palace Road, Carlton Gardens, Carlton House Terrace, Carting Lane, Catherine Street, Chandos Place, Churton Place, St Paul’s – Covent Garden, Dean Bradley Street, Dean Stanley Street, Dean’s Yard, Goodwin’s Court, Henrietta Street, King Street, Little College Street, New Row, The Sanctuary, Smith Square, St James’s Place, Tavistock Street, Trevor Square, Warwick Street
The unlisted gas lamps are on: Barton Street, Blue Ball Yard, Buckingham Mews, Carlton Gardens, Cecil Court, Cowley Street, Grosvenor Gardens Mews West, Inigo Place, Old Palace Yard, Rutland Gardens, Strand junction Carting Lane.