'Pitch black and unsafe' Northampton road needs its lights switching back on

Councillor Gareth Eales is calling for lighting to be reinstated in Mill Lane.
Councillor Gareth Eales is calling for lighting to be reinstated in Mill Lane.
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Campaigners are calling for street lights to be switched back on in a busy stretch of road one councillor has described as "pitch black and unsafe."

Northamptonshire County Council's street lighting Private Finance Initiative (PFI) started in October 2011 and has seen the authority gradually replace its orange glowing lamps with more efficient - but arguably dimmer - white lights.

The move, which has also seen the lamps in 40mph roads turned off completely to save money, has been criticised by the opposition as areas have been left either poorly lit or in complete darkness.

This week more than 160 people signed a petition to see lights reinstated along the 40mph stretch of Mill Lane, from Bants Lane to Woodside Way, in Kings Heath.

County councillor Gareth eales, (Lab, Dallington and Spencer) who launched the petition, said the road was "pitch black and unsafe."

"The response in the first 24 hours to both the Facebook post and the on-line petition has been fantastic and I have to say it's kind of what I expected, based on the number of complaints I have received about this issue."

The county council says the road is no more dangerous since the lighting was switched off. Even though the number of injury accidents has not changed along Mill Lane, the authority claims the "severity of them has reduced.

But responses on Councillor Eales' Facebook page show several feel unsafe on the stretch.

Ellen Hackett, said: "Whenever I drive through, especially where the speed limit is 40mph, I can honestly tell you I cannot see pedestrians or cyclists in dark clothing."

Councillor Eales said the suggestion the road has become safer since the switch-off is "bizarre."

"Of course what officers aren't aware of is the number of near misses, which people in the community do become aware of," he said.

"Without hesitation I state this stretch of road needs some lighting putting back in."

Councillor Eales has called for members of the public to comment on his Facebook post and sign the on-line petition, which he intends to present to the council.

To sign the petition, head to: https://www.change.org/p/northamptonshire-county-council-northamptonshire-highways-northamptonshire-highways-reinstate-street-lights-mill-lane-northampton