'You can't see anything': Safety fears over street darkness

Residents on Anthony Drive in Norwich are questioning why their street lights are turned off every night 

Residents on Anthony Drive in Norwich are questioning why their street lights are turned off every night - Credit: Ben Hardy

Residents on a Norwich street have said they feel unsafe at night due to their street lights being turned off, leaving them to walk home in darkness. 

Those living on Anthony Drive have hoped for a resolution ever since the street lights were first turned off between the hours of midnight and 5am two years ago. 

Following the death of Sarah Everard, and a growing nationwide campaign to make the streets safer for women, the residents are questioning why nothing has been done.

Since the street lights have been turned off, an elderly woman was targeted by a thief who climbed into her back garden, while others installed doorbell cameras after opportunists targeted properties in August. 

Resident Jo Mason, 48, said: "I do not want my 17-year-old girl walking on her own here, and that's probably the same with my son who is 19."

Widow Ellen Goodson, 76, said: "It's like we are an oasis in the middle of the lights. Why is it just us? If all the street lights on each street went off, fair enough, but this complaint is about safety. Now is the time to speak out." 

Angela Longstaff, 69, added: "Everyone has the right to feel safe at night. We just want to know why our street is different to all the others around here. It's pitch black at night and you can't see anything." 

Labour county councillor Steve Morphew, who represents Catton Grove, said he had promised to try to get the Conservative-led council to turn them back on.

The county council has been undertaking a sustainability scheme to cut CO2 emission in Norfolk by installing more LED street lights. 

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Mr Morphew said: "The changes to LED lights and the amount they wanted to save pales into insignificance when it comes to community safety. 

"Anthony Drive is a cul-de-sac which is exactly the sort of place where they should not be turned off. If the council were prepared to put the money behind it, it could literally be resolved tomorrow by changing the timers." 

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said there was a clear policy working with the police and only having part-night lighting in areas with low crime rates.