Cromer street lights could soon be switched off at night
09:44 08 May 2014
The council is toying with the idea which has seen other authorities blacking out lamps in the early hours.
But it wants to hear the views of townsfolk over the proposed move – to ensure there are no fears about road safety and crime which has happened in other parts of the country when street lighting was off.
The move would slash the council’s annual electricity bill, which this year has been budgeted at £12,000.
Councillors have yet to decide whether or not to go ahead with the possible switch-off, which was announced at the annual town meeting.
Some of Cromer’s lights owned by Norfolk County Council have already been set to a timer switch, but the town council’s 243 streetlights – mostly on residential streets – are still on all night.
The council has been toying with the move for two years but is waiting to see people’s reaction to county hall’s decision to do the same.
Town clerk Julie Chance said police had told the council that switching off street lights had no impact on crime, while road safety was not an issue because main roads would still be lit.
But the council needed to hear townsfolk’s views before further consideration of the matter, including a phased programme of replacement lamps with timer switches.
Mayor David Pritchard said there would be long-term savings for the town.
He said: “Some people may think it will increase crime but if there is someone walking around with a torch you would notice it.
“The lights have been switched off on my road and after the first few weeks I didn’t really notice it.”
Mr Pritchard said the council was likely to make a decision over the lights at the next works and general committee meeting in June.
He said: “All streets will be open for discussion. There are some residences where I would like to think the switch-off would be welcome.
“We have to realise there is no need for lights to be on at 2 or 3am.
“One of the issues is that people think there is going to be crime but there is no evidence of that at all.”
About a third of the county council’s residential street lights across Norfolk have been switched to part night lighting.
Mr Pritchard said the town council decided to “hold back” over street lighting to see reaction to the county switch-off, adding: “In times when money is tighter we can make cuts without impacting on people.”
The plan would see lights switched off for five or six hours a night, coming on at 5am or 6am depending on the time of year.
Send your views to the council by emailing email@example.com or write to the town council at North Lodge, Overstrand Road, Cromer, NR27 0AH.
What do you think about switching off some of Cromer’s lights? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Letters, North Norfolk News, 31 Church Street, Cromer, NR27 9ES.