Residents in Skegness should no longer be kept in the dark over whether or not street lights are to remain switched off after midnight, according to local councillors.
Concern about the safety of visitors and residents was raised at the meeting of Skegness Town Council.
We don’t want to panic residents, but ambulances and the fire service are struggling to find the numbers of houses in the darkCoun Mark Dannatt
A motion was put forward by the Mayor, Coun Danny Brookes, for Skegness Town Council to “write to Lincolnshire County Council to ask them to reconsider switching the lights on overnight, to enable the residents to live free from fear”.
Lincolnshire County Council wants to reassure residents they are safe, but the town council wants to see the evidence.
Earlier this year Lincolnshire County Council took a number of measures across the county to save £1.7m from its annual £5m street lighting budget.
These include 17,000 of the county’s 68,000 lights being swapped for low-energy LED ones which can be dimmed, ‘part-night’ lighting affecting 38,000 street lights in mostly residential areas, where lights are turned on at dusk and remain on until midnight and switched off until 6am, and up to 3,000 street lights, away from built up areas, being switched off, ‘subject to further assessments’.
Coun John Byford said it should be remembered the town has visitors as well as residents. He said: “There are guest houses and hotels in Drummond Road. People work late in town and they are all having to walk home in the dark and can’t see where they are going.”
Coun Mark Anderson said it was wrong to raise concerns about residents living in fear without up-to-date crime figures. He said: “The street lights were there for road safety and people walking on footpaths, not because of crime.”
However, Coun Mark Dannatt, who seconded the motion, said: “We don’t want to panic residents, but ambulances and the fire service are struggling to find the numbers of houses in the dark.”
Councillors are to ask LCC when a report on the impact of the changes will be made public.
John Monk, Lincolnshire County Council’s group manager for design services, said: “I want to reassure people that the evidence suggests that part-night lighting is safe and leaves the majority of road users unaffected.
“These changes have been in place in some parts of the county for over a year now, and there has been no noticeable impact according to Lincolnshire Police. In fact, other authorities, such as North Yorkshire and Warwickshire, have seen significant decreases in crime as a result of similar changes. However, we understand residents’ concerns, and so, later this financial year, we will be collecting data on road safety and night-time crime, so we can fully assess any impact the changes might have had.”