Worried Northampton parent fears for daughter’s safety following street lights switch off

Roger Hayman, street lighting operative, starts the switch-off in 2011
Roger Hayman, street lighting operative, starts the switch-off in 2011

A concerned dad who claims pedestrians have taken to using head torches is calling on the Northamptonshire County Council to “investigate the dim, inadequate street lighting” in the town.

David Barker, of Kings Heath, is fearing for the welfare of his 12-year-old daughter, following her dark walk home from school on Mill Lane in Kingsthorpe, since the council has introduced a new street light scheme in an attempt to use 40 per cent less energy.

The street lighting Private Finance Initiative (PFI) started in October 2011 and has seen the county council’s lighting stock replaced in a bid to offer uniform, white light rather than the patchy orange glow of ‘traditional’ lights.

But Mr Barker said: “What bothers me is that the council are putting in new LED lighting, low consumption lights, which seem darker. Some areas are absolutely pitch black.

“I’ve spoken to other people in the area who also have concerns. Crime might go up, and people could fall over and hurt themselves. Give it a few weeks children will be walking home in the dark.

“The whole town seems to be plunged into darkness now, which has to have a knock on effect with regards to crime and accidents?

“Some areas have absolutely no lighting whatsoever - particularly the road from the Bants Lane roundabout through to Kings Heath - and pedestrians are taking to using head torches.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Lighting along the 40mph section of Mill Lane, Northampton, was switched off in 2011 and the old lights in some sections have now been removed permanently.

“This has been applied consistently in 40mph areas across all of the county where we are responsible for lighting.

“In 40mph roads, generally lighting is retained only at certain roundabouts and some junctions or where it was provided for casualty reduction reasons.

“Since the street lighting was switched off, although the number of injury accidents has not changed along Mill Lane, the severity has reduced.”

It is understood that the scheme has allowed for contractor Balfour Beatty to replace the lamp units and electronics of all streetlights and allow for the replacement of lighting columns where necessary.

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