Worried residents on the coast condemn controversial decision to turn off street lights

Residents fear darker streets could lead to increased criminal activity.
Residents fear darker streets could lead to increased criminal activity.

Residents in coastal communities have slammed a Lincolnshire County Council decision to switch off street lights amid mounting fears it could lead to a hike in crime.

The council is switching off lights across the county in a controversial move which it says will save £1.7million.

The implications include ‘part-night’ lighting being introduced in mostly residential areas.

Lights will turn on at dusk, remain on until midnight, but then be switched off until 6am.

However, disgruntled residents in Sandilands, Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea have hit out at the plans which are currently being phased in.

Rose Norcop-Foppen said: “It’s disgusting!

“Even in the Victorian times there were gas lamps.”

Another resident, who would only give her name as Carol Ann, said: “It’s like going back to the Second World War.

“My dad used to tell me everywhere was pitch black.

“It’s a ridiculous and an unsafe way of saving money.”

Some residents said they were preparing to leave their own external lights on longer, even though it would lead to an increase in electricity bills.

Keran Waldon-Smith said: “Interestingly, street lights have gone off in our street over the last few days.

“A lot of homeowners are now leaving their external lights on - including me.

“It is absolutely pitch black and will only encourage crime.”

Amanda Morgan commented: “I think the lights should be left on, otherwise there is more chance of criminal activity and it’s not safe for people walking home.”

Debbie Turner said: “It is a worry.

“We live in Sandilands and there’s been a lot of break-ins.

“Street lighting should be on throughout the night.”

Denise Henshall added: “I think this is disgusting, I used to work till 1am and it was bad enough walking home when the lights were on.

“To walk home in the pitch dark is very scary, and it’s asking for trouble.”

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transport at Lincolnshire County Council has defended the decision for the lighting cuts.

He said: “The council’s budget has been cut by more than £100m over the last few years, and we have a further estimated budget shortfall of £57m for next year.

“We simply can’t afford to do everything we’ve done in the past.”

He added: “Streetlights are expensive, and, frankly, many of them do not need to be on during the small hours of the morning – all they are doing is burning taxpayers’ money.

“Of course, public safety remains an overriding concern, so at every location, we’ll give careful consideration to the effects of any reduction in lighting.”