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Street Lights

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On 15 Dec 2012 at 6:38pm Streeter wrote:
Here in South Street I've noticed that 'whoever' has decided to turn off our street lights at midnight and back on again soon after 5am. Why is this done without any notification to the residents? I know people who walk home after a late turn and now have to brave my own road in complete darkness. Is this happening elsewhere in Lewes? I'm sure it's done to save money but why doesn't anyone tell us about this?
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 6:44pm p.c wrote:
most places in lewes turn the lights off at midnight now. you will get a discount in your council tax !
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 7:22pm Southover Queen wrote:
East Sussex County Council did issue a "public consultation". It seemed to consist of one notice pinned up behind the equivalent of the bike sheds and lasted a whole two weeks. No-one affected by the change was notified and most people never did hear that such a fundamental change was proposed. I did because a neighbour did and spread the word, and I lodged a strong protest on the "consultation" website. Typically I received no acknowledgement whatsoever.

I actually regard this whole business as an abuse of office. They quite clearly decided they were going to go ahead and rigged the "consultation" to ensure that no-one would hear of it and they could go ahead unhindered by anything as inconvenient as opposition.

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On 15 Dec 2012 at 7:54pm Andrew wrote:
My young daughter now has to walk home through these unlit roads - how much, exactly, is this supposed to save the council tax payer in return for less safe roads at night?
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 7:59pm I Blame The Parents wrote:
What on earth is your "young" daughter doing out between midnight and 5am?
I'm ALL for dark streets and I wish they would do it in my road.
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 8:35pm Kerchinh wrote:
I wonder what the legal position is if one tripped and hurt oneself due to not being able to see the hazard. I can feel a ' no win no fee ' case coming :-)
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 8:50pm someone else wrote:
I've been told that if your car insurers find that you live on an unlit street, your premium will go up a fair bit. Apparently, there's been a substantial increase in car theft and vandalism where councils have tried this.
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 9:09pm Ed Can Do wrote:
The one in our street goes off now, although luckily the one on the corner on Spences Lane stays on so I can still just about see my way to my front door. The whole process was deeply dubious though, much like ESCC's approach to parking consultations. Is this a Sussex-wide thing or just us in Lewes?
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 9:43pm Midnight express wrote:
Total joke!!! I got home after 1 am last night and drive down to the Pells where I live. Not only to find I couldn't park anywhere but all the street lights were off! We still exist after 12 and some of us have to use the streets. I had to run in the dark feeling unsafe and vulnerable. Well done Council thanks for your wonderful new idea! It will only take an attack or a rape before they listen properly again! Lets hope it doesn't happen eh!! ( not impressed!!!)
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 10:44pm B&B landlady wrote:
Well bully for you "I blame the parents". My guests tonight, out at separate Christmas parties, will have to walk down Rotten Row in complete darkness since I'm sure they'll be out past midnight and then find their way to an unfamiliar house on a side street. What an absolutely brilliant idea. You can be sure I'll be encouraging them to sue the council for everything they've got if they get hurt - and someone will be. On top of that, it's only because I've read this here tonight that I realise I should have given them torches to take with them, because I had no idea that this had been given the go-ahead. It would really have been nice of ESCC to let accommodation businesses like me know that this was happening so that I could at least warn my guests. I haven't heard a dicky-bird.
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 11:26pm Country Boy wrote:
What a bunch of softies! Have you not tried a torch? I live in an area where there are no streetlights. Do I feel unsafe walking home? - No.
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On 15 Dec 2012 at 11:35pm B&B landlady wrote:
No, but neither are you a B&B guest expected to find your way back to a strange house in a strange town, are you? I suppose I will have to give them torches. However since I had no idea the council had actually gone ahead with this scheme my current guests will find they're plunged into darkness in half an hour or so. It really would have been nice of them to let us know so that I could have warned them, at least.
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 9:26am Andrew wrote:
" I blame the parents " - My daughter is 18 and works late shifts locally. Not all of us have cosy 9 to 5 working lives!
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 9:42am Barcombe belle wrote:
Maybe the consultation was not so good, but any turning off of unnecessary street lights has to be a bonus. Come to Barcombe where we have never had street lights, no car crashes on the High Street and everyone has a torch or develops great night vision. And yes we do have B&Bs too. Coming home last night the stars were just amazing
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 10:10am Midnight express wrote:
Ahhhh, how lovely for you, but its slightly different in a town love! We'd all like to look and gaze up at the stars and believe it or not you can still see them with the lights on but being safe is a little bit more on my gender! There are more people in a town so obviously the risk is higher.I wish there weren't so many dreamers in lewes!!!!
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 1:00pm Carrot eater wrote:
Midnight express, the populationnis higher so thevtrequency of incidents maybbe higher but the risk is probably lower as Lewes has more roads with pavements.
And ESCC is under the gun to make cost savings. Every withdrawn or reduced service will adversely affect someone. What would you suggest instead?
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 1:56pm Southover Queen wrote:
What *are* the cost savings? I haven't seen any figures, but I don't suppose it's much more than a few pence per tax payer per year.

Also, many of the pavements round here - and Rotten Row is a prime example - are so uneven that most people simply walk down the road. It's difficult enough when you can see where you're going, more or less, and downright dangerous when you can't.

As it happens I don't object to reducing the number of street lights, but not without any meaningful consultation or information about the implementation. Midnight is - in my humble opinion - too early to plunge a town into darkness. I'd have opted for later - say 2am, after the last trains have come and gone and most people out visiting friends will have safely returned home.
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 3:33pm Peasant wrote:
Turning off unnecessary street lights contributes to saving the planet, as well as saving the county council a few bob.
We don't have many street lights in the villages, and are keen to see those we do have turned off when not needed, but if you really need to see your way home late at night you carry a torch. Actually you don't need to, because quite enough houses have heat/movement activated exterior lights anyway, and you can always see your way thanks to the second-hand glare. from nearby towns like Lewes, which is lit up like a Christmas tree even though nearly everyone is asleep. A silly waste of finite resources.
Well within living memory it used to be so black on moonless nights that you could see fantastic star displays, but if you look at the night sky from Lewes all you see is a few of the brighter stars, not the millions that are there and potentially visible. Watch and learn. It's a good idea.
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 3:52pm Sussex Jim wrote:
I don't think there have ever been any muggings or indecent assaults in Barcombe. Or mindless vandalism caused by those returning home from the pub. The only crimes are normally committed by outsiders, like burglary and oil tank thefts. Most people in a village like this know most other people, and will help out in times of misfortune.
I was reading somewhere recently that the maximum number of people in a tribe or similar group is 1500. Above that figure people start to break away and start rival groups. I would like to see villages expand to this sort of level: just big enough to support a shop, post office, pub etc., but not much bigger, rather than see more housing tacked on to the anonimity of towns.
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 3:52pm cyclist wrote:
I knew it was on the cards, not sure how now (perhaps from this forum) and I filled in the consultation I don't read the Sussex Express so it must have been quite well publicised. I think it is a good idea, most nights it is quite easy to see where you are going once the eyes have adjusted. It saves energy and helps to avoid light pollution, which adversely affects birdlife and other wildlife. I don't think you are any less safe from attack and rape if the lights are on or off at night - light also helps the attacker to see what they are doing. Torches don't cost a huge amount if you feel you need one. As for the state of pavements I think I am probably more likely to fall over in poor light than no light as I am lulled into a false sense of security.
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 4:11pm Town dweller. wrote:
I agree that money can be saved by turning lights off.
However, a village is not a town is it?
There are a number of reasons why we have lights on in a busy town in the first place, so it is rather daft to argue the need for them to be turned on, and then turn them off when they are still being used. One problem I experience almost daily when returning home after midnight is that i simply cannot see down the streets I need to park in, so am now driving for ages around roads that i would otherwise have completely avoided. Believe it or not, but on a number of occasions it has taken over 15 minutes to find a space. CPZ signage needs to be visible, but isn't. I also wonder how safe vulnerable people feel when walking home. Our 3 Councils between them are approving less lighting, but also approved a drinking culture that runs later in the night. I regularly see, and hear drinkers tripping and stumbling even more than usual as they pick their way home in complete darkness. I can't buy torches for all of them. Anyway we have already paid for a giant torch system that can be left permanently outside, so why should we pay again. the Council may need to save money, but they seem to forget it is our money, so it is not serving any purpose if they simply create a new expense. is it cheaper, or more environmentally friendly to create two forms of night lighting? What is the environmental cost of thousands of torch batteries?
On the plus side the view of the sky is lovely, and personally I prefer the dark.
i don't however think it is very helpful or fair to be so discourteous towards people who have suddenly found themselves experiencing genuine problems such as tripping over unlit dodgy pavements, or feeling unsafe. If someone is attacked late at night in a completely unlit street I don't think the villagers of Barcombe or elsewhere would win any friends by suggesting it was the victims fault for not having a torch.

 
 
On 16 Dec 2012 at 5:22pm Midnight express wrote:
Hurray!!! Thank you Town Dweller.I rest my case.. ))))
 
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 7:15pm Boris wrote:
Southover Queen, you and yours are the reason this country is in the crap.
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On 16 Dec 2012 at 10:41pm Southover Queen wrote:
Oh look: someone who wishes to offer a reasoned argument in response to mine.

Shall I tell you what, Boris? The reason this country is in the crap is because people like you are apparently incapable of rational discussion and you elect politicians in your image.
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On 17 Dec 2012 at 4:37am expat wrote:
Peasant, you need to come to the bum of the earth, and look up at the sky here. Minimal light pollution and an amazing night sky (NZ). I wouldn't trade it for a well lit town.
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On 17 Dec 2012 at 2:27pm someone else wrote:
I saw somewhere that Sheffield City Council are converting all their street lighting to LED. Costs a bit at first installation but the fittings last much, much longer, use far less electricity and are easily dimmable overnight. That has to be the way to go, sooner or later.
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On 17 Dec 2012 at 2:35pm Southover Queen wrote:
Or even better lights which come on when they sense a person moving on the street, as they have in Holland or Barcelona. They claim savings of 80% and pay for themselves within three or four years. However I'll not hold my breath...
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On 17 Dec 2012 at 4:25pm someone else wrote:
SQ - that's been tried on North London. The problem is that residents trying to get to sleep effectively have to deal with an intermittent lighthouse flashing outside their bedroom window when they're trying to get to sleep. Drives you nuts. They gave up, and left the lights on, in the end.
 
 
On 17 Dec 2012 at 8:42pm not from around here wrote:
Sounds as thought the consultation was a joke and spreading the information to those affected was poorly done - or not done at all.
But.. in general I'm in favour of turning-off streetlights after midnight. I mean Lewes is quieter than most villages on most weekday evenings - and particularly on a Sunday evening. There might be a case for keeping the lights on over a Friday-Sat and then turning them off for the rest of the week.
In my road (not in Lewes) they used to turn-off at midnight but since they 'upgraded' the streetlights 2 or 3 years ago to less 'light polluting' ones they stay on all night!
 
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On 18 Dec 2012 at 11:00am amy wrote:
Drive through Lewes most evenings after 11.30 and most residents appear to be in bed. Enjoy the stars, instead of the usual orange grow ruining the night sky. Buy a torch!!
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On 18 Dec 2012 at 1:18pm Safe Streets wrote:
AMYS, I do agree that there is much to recommend the loss of the orange glow, but you should really read all the posts above. Are you going to say 'should have got a torch if someone is attacked in a pitch black street? Yes there is a debate to be had, but at least be sensitive to the real issues. Astronomy is lovely, but not exactly top of the list for the realists.
Lewes is safe, we don't need to make it less safe unnecessarily.

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On 18 Dec 2012 at 1:52pm Southover Queen wrote:
Thank you, Safe Streets. My problem is twofold: that the consultation by ESCC was so perfunctory that even our democratically elected representative said that she hadn't heard about it until shortly before the period finished, and secondly that there was no attempt to let residents know that the change had been implemented.

Lewes is indeed very quiet after midnight, especially during the week. There are plenty of people around at the weekend however, and shift workers such as nurses or people working in the emergency services don't keep conventional hours either.

I would be happier if I thought that there had been some kind of debate which took into account the needs of the residents (and visitors) of Lewes, and there simply wasn't. The "consultation" was laughable, submissions in response were not acknowledged, and our local councillor didn't even know about the proposals. That doesn't count as "debate" in my book.

As it happens it doesn't inconvenience me personally much. Now that I know it's happening I'll be sure to carry a torch if I think I might be out late and I'll choose my route home so that I stay on the streets which remain lit. That isn't the point, and it's what irritates me about many of the posts here: this isn't (or shouldn't be) about what you happen to prefer for your own particular reasons, it should be about what is best for the community as a whole. By all means save money on street lighting, but let's do it intelligently and in a way which doesn't leave some members of our community struggling.
 
 
On 18 Dec 2012 at 2:05pm queenie wrote:
i find the switch on a about 5 am a good alarm clock in the week but not so good at weekends. I can not wait to see my reduction in council tax next year!!?
 
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On 18 Dec 2012 at 2:20pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I'm quite liking the properly dark nights, tbh, and I'm quite ok with the streets being dark. I agree the "consultation" was shoddily handled though, and the start date should have been publicised so people realised.
On the Nevill, it's not all streets that are dark, lights in Mount Harry Road still seem to be on all night. No idea if they've made an exception or a mistake!
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On 18 Dec 2012 at 3:25pm John Stockdale wrote:
Southover Queen, the lights are supposed to be switched off 12.30 to 5.30am each day in side streets. The streets they are off are dimmed 50% at the same time. ESCC are rolling out the system across the county and expect to save £1m pa on electricity charges. This process has already happened in Heathfield, Uckfield and Seaford.
The police say there has been no increase in crime in these towns - and if there is in a particular hotspot, they can require the lights to be switched back on again. I agree the consultation was unreasonably low key. I checked the maps for my ward and suggested some adjustments. I suppose I will have to stay out late or get up unreasonably early to see if ESCC took any notice.
I have not heard before of car insurers increasing premiums for darkened streets, so if this has affected anyone, I'd be interested to have details.
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On 18 Dec 2012 at 3:43pm Deelite wrote:
Eat lots of carrots, as we do in Barcombe. Dark nights are great. The stars are so bright. Did anyone see Jupiter last night (just above the plough, to the south west)? Clear as a bell and beautiful.
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On 18 Dec 2012 at 4:09pm Southover Queen wrote:
Thanks for that, John. I *think* that the original plan - to turn the lights out on Rotten Row must have been reviewed because St Pancras Road remains lit, to my relief. Like you, I'll have to go for a late night walk to find out! I really hope that ESCC will learn from this and do us the simple courtesy of consulting properly, acknowledge responses and let us know when changes are being instituted. This was insultingly bad.

Deelite, I have been enjoying the night skies greatly in the last week or so. That's because the street lighting in Southover is pretty minimal once you're off the main roads even before midnight. In fact last week it was so clear that I could see the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.


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