Lights to go out in Dereham
Communities in the Dereham area could be left in the dark at night under plans to switch off some street lights to save money.If the proposals by Norfolk County Council are supported, Dereham would have 1,128 lights turned off at midnight (or 1am in summer time) in quiet residential areas.
Communities in the Dereham area could be left in the dark at night under plans to switch off some street lights to save money.
If the proposals by Norfolk County Council are supported, Dereham would have 1,128 lights turned off at midnight (or 1am in summer time) in quiet residential areas.
The county council has also proposed turning off 308 lights in Fakenham, 187 in Scarning and 55 in Wells, as well as thousands of other lights across the county.
Other areas mentioned in a report on the plans include Bawdeswell (five lights), Mattishall (eight), Mileham (five), Necton (five), Shipdham (18), Foulsham (eight), Briston (60), Hempton (12), Langham (26), Great Ryburgh (10), Sculthorpe (three) and Walsingham (10).
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Its street light energy bill, for more than 45,000 lights across the country, is �2m a year and the authority is in the process of replacing lights with more efficient models fitted with cells which switch off after midnight.
But despite a backlash over safety concerns, members of Dereham Town Council's social and welfare committee said last Tuesday night that they were broadly in favour of the idea.
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However, Labour members of the town council did air caution to the scheme. In an email to the committee, Robin Goreham and Michael Fanthorpe said there should be 'urgent clarification' over the proposal because not all street lights in the town were provided by the county council.
They also said they believed the idea would 'cause considerable public concern', particularly to those living near pubs and dark alleyways.
Mr Goreham, who is also a member of Breckland Council, also suggested that authority make comment on the plans.
Dereham has a population of about 18,000, compared to Fakenham with about 8,000.
If the lights switch-off went ahead according to the current proposal, it would see .62 street lights per person in Dereham turned off compared to .03 street lights per person in Fakenham.
Norfolk Police have been asked what they think about the idea. Their response was that they were aware of it and were considering it.
Tony Needham, town clerk at Dereham, said although the proposal was broadly welcomed, the committee wanted consideration given to keeping the lights on in streets which were main residential roads with smaller roads feeding off them, such as Sandy Lane.
He also said they wanted further clarification over some streets which the county had proposed to switch off just some, not all lights.
When these clarifications were made he said the planning committee of the town council would then look at the proposals again before making their comments to Norfolk County Council's cabinet, which is due to make a final decision on the idea again on January 25.
Prior to that, the county's planning, transportation, environment and waste overview and scrutiny panel will discuss the idea on January 6.
If agreed the county council has said it is keen to start introducing the part-time lighting in the following few months and complete the programme by the end of 2012/13.
Adrian Gunson, the county council's cabinet member for planning and transportation, has said community safety will be taken into account, which is why the council wrote to the districts and parishes which would be affected if the scheme is approved.
He said: 'We are only talking about switching off about half the street lights between certain times and we would not switch off the ones which are important for community safety.
'For example, in Norwich, we would not turn off the lights of Prince of Wales Road or St Stephen's Street and we wouldn't be switching off at say, the market place in Dereham.
'We are taking into account community safety and that's why we are looking at quiet, residential areas. My feeling is that there's very few people walking about in those areas between midnight and 5am.
'But that's why we are asking the parishes and districts - to see if there are areas which do need to have street lighting all night that we haven't taken into account.'