Three quarters of Lincoln residents criticise street lights switch-off in council survey

Three quarters of Lincoln respondents to a Lincolnshire County Council survey were negative or extremely negative about the authority’s controversial changes to street lights across the county.

Over half of Lincolnshire’s 68,000 street lights were reverted to a ‘part-night’ lighting system, saving the council £1.7 million.

This means that they are switched off between midnight (and as early as 10pm in some areas) until dawn.

The council ran a survey from November 17, 2017 to January 5, 2018 asking for residents’ views on the changes, to allow for feedback on any areas which could be exempt from the switch-off.

Just over 5,000 Lincolnshire residents responded to the survey, including 687 in Lincoln.

The results have indicated that the policy has proved to be unpopular with large sections of the public, with 75% of respondents in Lincoln describing the changes as negative or extremely negative.

By contrast, just 14.3% of respondents were positive or extremely positive about the changes.

The ward with the highest number of negative responses across the county was Skirbeck in Boston, with 95% of respondents saying that there had been a negative impact.

Other wards where more than nine in 10 people said the changes were negative were Spalding St John’s, St Wulfram’s in Grantham, All Saints in Stamford, Fishtoft outside of Boston, Trinity in Louth, Fenside in Boston and Waddington West.

More than one in five respondents in Lincoln explicitly mentioned work when outlining why they were opposed to the changes.

The report added that a number of residents raised fears about a perception in increased crime levels along the Lincolnshire coast since the part-night lighting was brought in.

Residents across the county also raised road safety concerns, for motorists, pedestrians and emergency services.

Some added that they felt the lighting changes had increased a general sense of social isolation and “placed a curfew” on some residents.

Wards with the highest number of respondents to the survey were the Carholme ward in Lincoln, Scotter in West Lindsey, Gainsborough North, St Clement’s in Skegness, Bracebridge in Lincoln and Bourne West.

A county council scrutiny panel will analyse the public feedback at a meeting in Lincoln on Thursday, February 22.

Council leader Martin Hill has previously said that the council would not reverse the policy, but may tweak it in certain areas.

In October 2017, he said: “We promised a review of that policy but I’ll not mislead you. There’ll be no chance that all those street lights we’ve switched off will come back on again.

“Why would you want to keep street lights on when there’s nobody out there? And last time I looked, all cars had headlights on.”