“Huge potential” for accidents if streetlights are removed from Watton road

Cranswick Country Foods in Watton. Picture; Matthew Usher.

Cranswick Country Foods in Watton. Picture; Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Shift workers at a major factory could be put at risk if a 'preposterous' and potentially fatal decision to switch off streetlights near its car park goes ahead, town councillors have said.

Norfolk County Council is proposing to remove around 20 streetlights outside the Cranswick factory on Brandon Road, Watton, as part of an energy-saving drive.

But town councillors are concerned the decision could have serious implications for shift workers at the factory who arrive and leave in hours of darkness.

At a meeting on June 28 vice chairman Stan Hebborn said that if the streetlights were switched off, it would make the county council an annual saving of £1,562 and added that the impact on its carbon footprint would be 'negligible'.

He added: 'The workers of Cranswick work in shifts. Every eight hours there is an influx of people coming across that road. We should object to this preposterous idea. It is not going to help anyone.'

Dan Fishlock said that at night people 'drive like idiots' down the B1108, adding: 'I think if we take the street lights away someone will get killed.'

New councillor Janet Carr added that the potential for an accident was 'huge'.

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A proposal has been put forward by Cranswick, one of the area's biggest employers, to put a pedestrian crossing on Brandon Road in order to help its workers reach the company's car park should the street lights be lost.

Mayor Beryl Bunning said: 'Cranswick employs a lot of people in this town and if they will be using the car park when they are working late, we need to help them.'

Mr Hebborn said: 'The people who really matter to us, the residents of Watton, have said that they need a crossing there. Without street lighting they feel that road is unsafe.'

The council resolved to write to Cranswick about the county council's proposals, and to show its support for the company's pedestrian crossing application.

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said the B1108 in Watton was one of six roads being considered for streetlight removal, but stressed the plan was 'still a proposal and no decision has been made'.

They said the county council was currently consulting with residents and other interested parties during the trail, adding: 'Should there be no significant issues over the course of the year, only at that stage, would the lamp posts be removed.'

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