MORE than £12,000 is still needed for long-awaited lights in an Oxford park, leading to claims a community is being “left behind”.

Plans have been in the pipeline to install lights at the Croft Road recreation ground in Marston since 2007, according to the area’s independent city councillor Mick Haines.

He hit out after learning the authority only has £20,000 available for the project, which has an estimated cost of £32,000.

Mr Haines said: “I’m fed up, because I have been told there’s £12,000 still to find on the budget for the lights.

“It’s excuses. This is drag, drag, drag and the people have been left behind.

“We’re always last to get new things.

“People are asking me ‘when are we getting our lights?’.

“It’s excuse after excuse all the time. It’s like they have to scrape somewhere to try to find the money.”

Plans to install the lights are part of a joint project between Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to improve the park.

The county council paid for a cycle path last summer, while the city council is in charge of putting in the lights.

The 12 lights are earmarked to go along a footpath through the park and to illuminate the children’s play area during autumn and winter evenings.

They were supposed to be installed in July 2009, but work was postponed when some residents said the 16ft lampposts would be too close to their homes.

Mr Haines then took a 1,205-name petition to No 10 Downing Street in 2010 as part of his campaign to get the lights installed.

He added: “This is scandalous. They can’t find £12,000 for lights in an area which is a health and safety hazard.

“It’s health and safety because people go through the park in the evenings back from work.”

A city council spokesman said the authority was committed to completing the upgrading of the path.

The council has bought land close to Rippington Drive so that the lights can be better aligned, completed the footpath and tendered for the lights.

The spokesman said: “However, the detailed design for the lights has produced costs over budget.

“We’re working to deal with this shortfall and hope to be able to respond to ward councillors within the next two weeks.”