In the dark over lights switch off

‘GRAVE concerns’ have been voiced over the switching off of street lights in Daventry.

Northamptonshire County Council announced it would switch off roughly half the street lights it owns to save money.

This week it appears the first lights locally have been turned off.

Street lamps earmarked to be switched off – and eventually removed – are being marked with notices.

But the choice of which streets and paths are to turn dark at night has caused concern among some.

Daventry district councillor Colin Poole, who lives in St Andrews Drive noticed stickers going up on Tuesday.

Among those set to be switched off include lights in alleyways and at the entrance to cut-throughs, and near zebra crossings.

Lights along Eastern Way near Norton Road have also been marked up, despite the road being notorious locally for the number of accidents at the junction.

Cllr Poole said: “I’m getting really concerned about this and it looks like the people I’m talking to at the police and community safety group are as well.

“We all thought they would put up these stickers, leave the lights on, and get people’s views before turning them off, but that’s not happening.

“They’ve been turned off at pedestrian crossings and in alleyways, which creates potential dangers.

“The county council says 50 per cent are being turned off, but that’s across the whole of Northants. There could be ‘trouble estates’ where all the lights get left on, and others who get it all turned off and are plunged into darkness.”

In the Daventry district many village parish councils own their own lights which will are therefore unaffected. But all the lights in Daventry itself and those at junctions on main A-roads could be affected.

A spokeswoman said: “Around one in two of county council-owned lights will be switched off.

“However turning off roughly half of the lights does not mean turning off every other light and a priority list is being developed in conjunction with the police and road safety officers that will enable the council to identify where it is most appropriate for most lights to be maintained, and where they can be switched off.”

This week the county council also announced a new multi-million pound scheme to replace whatever old yellow street lights are left with new which can be computer controlled and cost less to run.

County Councillor Andre Gonzales de Savage said: “I hope people will understand that there’s a bigger picture out there, aside from the switch-off that’s happening at the moment.”