NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL'S PLAN
TO SWITCH-OFF SELECTED STREET LIGHTS in NORWICH
For background to the issue scroll to bottom of screen
18 Nov. 2010. Norfolk County Council are currently saying that no street lights will now be switched off within the inner ring road. This area is mostly outside the inner ring road, so presumably will see some of its lights switched off after midnight. There is supposed to be a consultation exercise before any final decision is made. We need to make sure local people's views are heard.
25 Jan. 2010. Norfolk County Council's cabinet members decide to go ahead with the switch off of 27,000 street lights across Norfolk (7,800 in Norwich) between midnight and 5 a.m. There is considerable opposition from Norwich City Councillors. Norfolk County Council say they will consult residents by letter before switching off their light, but a) will they take any notice of negative reactions and b) will they only consult in those street where the lighgts that are planned to be switch off? In the St Augustine's area, street such as Botolph Street, Catherine Wheel Opening and Quaker Lane don't actually have anyone living on them, but they are used by people passing through them to neighbouring streets. Presumably these peoples' views will not be canvassed!
22 Jan. 2010. Norfolk County Council say that trials in Essex show that switching off street lights from midnight to 5 a.m. has not resulted in an increase in crime in those streets, and that while crime has increased across the county generally in the past three years, it has actually fallen in the streets where street lights have been switched off. However, the trail has only been held in three predominately rural and fairly prosperous areas that were very low crime areas to begin with. Even here, there is evidence of a backlash. Saffron Walden Town Council are currently considering allocating £5,000 from its own budget to pay for street lights in the town to be switched on again because there has been an increase in the fear of crime at night among a substantla number of its citizens. In order to reduce the enviromental impact the electricity required would be sourced from a green energy supplier.
20 Jan. 2010. Text of email (below) sent to Councillor Adrian Gunson, Norfolk County Council's elected head of Transport & Planning:
Dear Cllr Gunson,
At a public meeting of the St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association on 14 January 2010 Norfolk County Council's plan to switch off street lighting in selected streets from midnight to 5 a.m. was discussed. There was considerable anxiety about this proposal, in particular concerning the personal safety of pedestrians and cyclists moving through the St Augustine's area at night.
The St Augustine's area of Norwich has suffered major social deprivation and economic decline for many years. Recently, hope of recovery has been kindled through the implementation of the Northern City Centre Area Action Plan (NCCAAP), including the redevelopment of Anglia Square and the construction of the St Augustine's gyratory road system, work on which began earlier this month. However, the County Council's planned switch off of street lighting in, for example, Botolph Street and St George's Street, which have been designated as important routes into and out of the area for pedestrians and cyclists, runs contrary to the intentions of the NCCAAP to reconnect this area with the surrounding city.
On behalf of the residents and traders of St Augustine's area of Norwich I would urge you to reconsider the County Council's proposed switch off of street lighting in this area, which we feel will have a negative impact on the area's economic and social recovery.
Secretary, St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association
14 Jan. 2010. At a meeting of St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association it was decided that the Secretary would write to the County Council to express the concerns of local residents and traders to the planned switch off of street lighhting in the St Augustine's area (see above).
Background to this Issue
Norfolk County Council plans to switch-off 27,000 street lights across the county (including 7,800 in Norwich). They propose to turn-off the lights from midnight to 5 a.m. (or 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. during British Summer Time) in selected streets they deem to be in low-crime areas and where there is thought to be little traffic movement between these hours. The primary reason for this plan is to save money, but also to reduce the county's carbon footprint and to reduce light pollution. These are good reasons, however, fears of a deterioration in community safety are being expressed by the public, police officers and businesses, especially where the switch-off affects densely populated urban areas with existing anti-social behaviour problems.
In the St Augustine's area of Norwich streets lights are planned to be turned off in Quaker Lane, St Martin's Lane, St George's Street, Leonard Street, Catherine Wheel Opening, Botolph Street, Bakers Road, Wingfield Road and Green Hills Road.
On 6 January 2010 the County Council's Planning, Transportation, Environment and Waste Overview and Scrutiny Panel approved the plans, which will go to the Cabinet for a final decision on 25 January. If approved, the big switch-off will be phased in over the next three years, starting later this year.
Click here to read the County Council's background paper on the street lighting issue.
Click here to see the complete list of where street lights are planned to be switched off.
If you are concerned about this development please contact your Mancroft County Councillor, Cllr Richard Bearman firstname.lastname@example.org (tel (01603) 504124) or Cllr Adrian Gunson Adrian.email@example.com, Norfolk County Council Cabinet member resposible for Transport & Planning.