Friday, 27 April 2012

False economy

I popped in to Crowborough Library recently, and in the council’s foyer I saw the plans for lighting our streets in the nights to come.

I know the council must save money. I’m all for sensible cost cutting. I have no issue whatsoever with turning off every other light in a road. Presumably, that’s a 50% reduction at a stroke, with little loss of illumination.

I’d even cut every other light on those roads where they propose keeping things as they are. They’d still be well lit enough to be safe, and I doubt it would distress anybody.

What will distress people is the proposal concerning other streets, whereby ALL lighting will be turned off from 00.30 to 06.30 nightly. To me, that’s economy at the expense of public safety, and that’s no economy at all.

For one thing, people are still out and about at half past midnight. Even my quiet cul-de-sac is not completely deserted at that time, although Sunday to Thursday it’s generally silent by 1am. Waiting an extra thirty minutes could make a big difference.

Fridays and Saturdays, of course, people are out till the small hours and need lights to get home. Girls in particular need to see properly to feel safe. Would you be happy if your daughter was walking home in the pitch darkness? I know I wouldn’t.

And what about potholes? Treacherous in daylight, in the dark they’d be lethal. A few compensation claims from Lawyers4U would completely wipe out the savings on the electricity bill.

I hope the council will think again and leave us some lighting, at least at those times when people are still likely to be out. Or will someone have to be hurt before they realise that some economies are just not worth the candle?

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