Widespread concern forces streetlight changes

By Kevin Unitt Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 15:16

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Councillors Jenny St John, Lynette Kelly and John Holland with concerned protester Jemma Galvin and her petition outside Warwickshire County Council headquarters at Shire Hall. Picture by Jon Mullis. 52.012.027.leam.jm3

CHANGES have been made to the timing of streetlight switch offs across the district following widespread concerns.

A week after our exclusive story on the issue - in which taxi drivers in Leamington spoke of their safety concerns after 18-year-old student Archie Wellbelove was killed on the dimly lit Kenilworth Road in the town - Warwickshire County Council has announced changes to its scheme.

Starting tonight (Friday) lights will remain on until 1am and then come on again at 6.30am, a change from the midnight to 5.30am schedule the cash-strapped authority had originally implemented from Dec 1 as part of plans to save up to £500,000 a year.

The move follows widespread concern from residents, with hundreds joining protest groups online and signing petitions calling for the streetlights to be kept on all night.

Coun Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s highways and transport chief, confirmed: “We have listened to the public’s concerns and monitored social media reaction to the switch off.

"We are extremely aware that a proportion of the public is uneasy about the lights being switched off at midnight, perhaps more so at this time of year.

“We have always said that this is a work in progress and we will work with residents to refine to best suit patterns of movement and travel at night.

“This change in timings will enable us still to make the necessary savings whilst addressing what some people are saying about the lights going off at midnight. We will continue to listen to people’s views as we decide on the best lighting pattern for summertime hours.”

As already announced, the lights will remain on all night on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

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