In the dark on lights changes

I have recently received a leaflet from North Yorkshire County Council Business and Environmental Services department regarding changes to street lighting in North Yorkshire, the contents of which give me concern.

I am not sure if the first paragraph quoting a start date of April 2012 is a typing error and should read April 2013 and query why this has taken so long to be made public knowledge to householders as not everybody may read the Scarborough News or have access to the internet. Indeed, the first time I was made aware was when I read about it in your paper on September 27.

In the television comedy Dad’s Army, Warden Hodges screams “put that light out”. It would seem that the county council are intent on doing exactly that, as selective lamp posts will have timers placed in them to switch them off between midnight and 5am. Some reports state this will start next April and others as early as January 2013. No mention is made of how much these timers will cost and how much labour is involved in fitting them to achieve the cost savings. Only recently on a Radio York phone in, it was claimed that the former council lighting section is now run by a private sub contracted firm based in Leeming Bar.

I feel we all should think hard about the implications of this proposal as Scarborough is a seaside resort that relies on its night time economy as much as its day time economy. We do not want to make people feel unsafe in areas where they might be returning to guest houses, hotels, bedsits and flats in areas away from the main tourist routes.

As the lighting will be reduced it could result in accidents whilst walking or driving home especially bearing in mind the state of pavements which are becoming ever cluttered with wheelie bins and other obstacles. Will there be an increase in compensation claims for accidents or injuries as a result?

Reports recently given at the Northstead Community and Police meeting highlighted how important street lighting was in the capture and prosecution of The Crescent car vandals captured through CCTV footage which was illuminated by street lighting.

All these factors need to be taken into consideration by our councillors when deciding which lights need turning off during the early mornings to save them £400,000 from their electric bill.

Please make your views known to your councillors as you will be interested to know which lights will be switched off as I have discovered that two lights outside my own home will indeed be affected.

Guy Smith

Peasholm Drive