Town council calls for review into impact of street light switch-off amid fears over safety


- Credit: Archant

St Ives Town Council will ask Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council for a review into how turning off street lights will impact the town.

The decision, made at a full council meeting earlier this month, comes after the town council agreed it could not afford to the keep them on itself; a scheme which would cost in the region of £13,000.

Councillor Nick Dibben said: “The town council doesn’t have that sort of money without putting up council tax and it was felt that if we did that, the county council would look to dump something else on us.”

Street lights in residential roads, apart from those in the centre, have been switched off by the county council between 2am and 6am in an effort to reduce costs.

Since the decision though, residents have expressed concerns about crime and safety to the town council, prompting the decision for a review.

“People are out in the town particularly on the weekends until two or three o’clock in the morning and their belief in the town being safe is being compromised,” said Councillor Philip Pope at the meeting on April 13.

“Now they’ve got to either walk home like they used to, through dark streets or dark alleyways, or got to get a taxi which doesn’t always drop you at your house. It’s a worrying thing.

Most Read

He continued: “I feel a lot of people come to our town because they believe it to be a safe haven. It worries me that people will start feeling unsafe.”

Councillor Peter Smith added: “In a broad street with pavements on both sides you don’t feel particularly trapped by a threatening situation, but some of the lights are in very narrow alley ways,”

“We also have some around our park and they’re much darker because they’re narrow and people feel very threatened if they hear footsteps behind them. I think those should be a very high priority for somebody, whether it’s us or not, to pay for lights to remain on.”

The letter to the district council and county council suggesting the review will be sent this week.