Earlier switch-ons and extended coverage suggested as part of street-light change discussion after county gives dim view

Street lighting
Street lighting

Lights switching on earlier and extended coverage in places with a busy night-time economy were some of the suggestions made by councillors scrutinising residents’ mostly negative reaction to changes today (Thursday).

The Scrutiny Review: Impact of the Part Night Street Lighting Policy committee heard how 74.2 per cent of respondents to a county-wide survey felt the council’s changes had had a negative or extremely negative impact on their lives.

Coun Paul Skinner, whose ward Fishtoft, Boston, had one of the most negative responses, pointed to the fact that those most affected appeared to be of younger, working ages.

He said he was aware of how shift workers, including those at Pilgrim Hospital, which comes under his ward had spoken to him of their fears, and suggested the committee think about turning lights on earlier in the morning to accommodate.

He suggested that, with some beginning to walk to work at 5.30am onwards, it might be better to turn the lights on at around 5am.

He added that if the lights were switched off, it may discourage people from walking or cycling to work - something local authorities are keen to promote.

Another Councillor, Rob parker, who represents Lincoln Carholme ward also raised the issue of workers and revellers in the night-time economy.

He raised concerns over those walking home after the lights had gone out, and suggested that the area the lights were kept on could be extended to cover 2-3 miles outside of Lincoln City Centre for instance.

Councillors also again discussed the perception of crime and the actual statistics. They noted how there was a concern over a reduction in safety and increase in crime or the fear of crime, but were reminded that police had said there had been no increase in crime that could be attributed to the lighting changes.

They added, however, that there had been a reported difference of opinion between bosses at Lincolnshire Police headquarters and those managing local beats.

They said that spates of crimes, including some recent ones in Crowland and Boston, were not necessarily related to street lighting but occurred on occassion as they had done in the past.

Councillors requested further data to be brought to the next meetings, including anti-social behaviour figures from local councils.

The next meeting on March 8 and those onwards will be closed meetings as councillors will be examining personal responses from residents in order to make recommendations to Lincolnshire County Council on how to move forward.