September 25th, 2016

Shedding light on safety fears

Shedding light on safety fears Shedding light on safety fears
Updated: 9:50 am, May 07, 2015

TORCHES have been handed out to help residents plunged into darkness by street lamps being turned off.

Coun Joe Baker has taken action after raising concerns with the ruling Conservative group at Worcestershire County Council.

They took the decision in early 2014 that two thirds of lights – amounting to around 39,000 in total across the county – would be switched off between midnight and 6am in a bid to save £500,000 from their annual £2.4million electricity bill.

Speaking to the Standard, Coun Baker said he was concerned for the safety of residents in his ward and had been able to distribute torches to Mendip House residents in Church Hill thanks to a donation by Church Hill Big Local.

“Already many councillors are receiving complaints from residents who feel insecure and afraid in their own homes at night, with many streets being in total darkness.” he said.

“At full council last month, I challenged highways cabinet member John Smith about the impact this will have. He was adamant that the switch off would go ahead and that there would be no concerns from residents.

“We hope these torches will help residents feel safer in their home environment and reduce complaints from people who feel insecure, afraid and worried about an increase in crime.”

Last October the Standard reported how a county council officer had suggested at a Redditch Highways Forum residents should carry torches to help them see in the dark following the switch off.

The comment was condemned by councillors at the time, including Coun Baker who said savings should be made from the salaries of the chief executive and senior council directors and not from turning off street lights.

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