The lights are going off all over Rugby, courtesy of the Conservatives.
As a ‘cost saving measure’, the Tory controlled County Council have agreed plans to switch off most of the street lights in the area between midnight and 5:30am. The vast majority of the lights across the County will be affected. The main areas that will go dark are residential streets. While there are criteria being used to choose the 20% of County Council lights that will remain on, many places will have few, or no street lights on overnight.
In Rugby town this includes:
- Most of Hillmorton and Paddox apart from where there are shopping parades.
- The whole of the Southfields estate
- Most of Bilton, Admirals, Overslade and Caldecott
- Large parts of Newbold
- Most of Brownsover to the North of Newton Manor Lane or to the East of the shops
- The A428 through Long Lawford, as well as Steeping Road and the roads off it.
Even a stretch on Barby Road at the south entrance to St Cross Hospital will be unlit after midnight under these plans.
In outlying areas, most of the lights on the A428 through Binley Woods will be switched off, and the same thing is planned for the A423 in Long Itchington. In some villages the Parish Councils control street lights, but where they do not, most of the County Council’s lamps will be affected. This includes parts of Ryton, Brinklow, Dunchurch, Southam. All but a handful of lights along the main road through Clifton will be off overnight.
The centre of Rugby is mainly unaffected, although there are particular roads which will go to part-time lighting, and we suggest that everyone check to see how the change may affect the streets that they live on and use.
Currently the County Council are ‘engaging’ the public on this. However, some key decisions have already been made, such as to make 80% of the county’s lights part-time from April next year.
In an area with a high level of shift working and where we are already seeing a rise in burglaries (no thanks to cuts in police numbers) this will only heighten concerns about public safety. As well as worries about crime, there are safety issues with roads and pavements being unlit overnight. While there are cost and environmental factors, the wholesale nature of these lighting cuts and the fact that substantial areas of residential neighbourhoods will be completely unlit in the small hours suggests that the Tories have not properly thought through the impact. They have rejected compromises such as having alternating patterns on streets or having different hours.
The County Council have set up a feedback form for your opinions here. While the questions are limited, there is space to register your thoughts on the criteria and the plans, and we ask that anyone who has concerns register their thoughts by 16th July 2012.