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Lights plan leaves Wymondham in the dark

PUBLISHED: 10:32 18 June 2010 | UPDATED: 15:26 14 July 2010

The switch-off of street lights in Wymondham will start at the end of this month - after just 21 people responded to consultation over the proposals.

Norfolk County Council agreed at the start of the year to turn out the majority of its street lights in residential streets after midnight to save money and reduce the council's carbon footprint.

The switch-off of street lights in Wymondham will start at the end of this month - after just 21 people responded to consultation over the proposals.

Norfolk County Council agreed at the start of the year to turn out the majority of its street lights in residential streets after midnight to save money and reduce the council's carbon footprint.

Councillors said few people were on the streets at that time, so it made sense to switch them off in a staggered phase over the next three years, saving £167,000 a year and cutting County Hall's carbon footprint by 1,000 tonnes a year.

The county council has said lights will not be switched off along main roads and the ruling Conservative group has insisted there will be exceptions to the switch off including if streets have CCTV, traffic calming or if police say turning lights out will lead to an increase in crime.

Consultation is now underway to find out where those exemptions should be applied. The county council has divided its consultation into two phases - one is consulting with 'stakeholders' such as district and parish councils, local councillors and the safer neighbourhood teams.

The second is consultation with people living on the individual streets where the lights are earmarked to be turned off after midnight.

Both sets of consultation have been completed in Wymondham. Stakeholders have been asked in Hethersett, Cringleford, Costessey, with people in Thetford and Dereham due to be asked later this year.

In Wymondham 2,373 letters were sent out but only 21 people responded, five in support and 16 objecting or seeking exemptions.

Families in Hethersett, Cringleford and Costessey will be consulted with next week, but people in the Greater Norwich area - where 7,800 lights are set to go out - will not be asked until next year.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “Every objection has been considered and all comments and assessments have been submitted to Mike Jackson, the director of environment, transport and development and cabinet member Adrian Gunson, who will decide whether to add further streets to those exempt from part-night lighting.

“Work will be starting in Wymondham at the end of the month and working through to September. It is hard to say when the first part-night equipped columns will be going up because not all streets or lights are being converted, and some decisions remain to be taken.”

Len Elston, chairman of Wymondham Town Council's planning, lighting and highways committee, said the council was supportive of the scheme as long as residents' night-time safety was not compromised.

“We're not countenance to a complete switch-off and putting the town in darkness but we would go along with a sensible reduction,” he said.

“This will go some way to improving our carbon reduction. At the same time we're very mindful of the fact that elderly people and safety etc most come to the forefront.”


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