The decision to turn street lights across Stamford and Bourne off between midnight and 6am is causing concern among local residents.
Lincolnshire County Council has been carrying out work on its street lights this week - with around 38,000 across the county eventually switching to the new ‘part-night’ system.
The lights are set to come on as normal at dusk, but rather than staying on throughout the night they go off at midnight and stay off until 6am.
The county council is looking to save £1.7 million from its annual £5 million street lighting budget and is intending to achieve this is by: converting 17,000 exisiting lights to energy-efficent LED, which can be dimmed late at night; ‘part-night’ lighting; and permanent switch-offs of around 3,000 lights away from residential areas.
The Mercury has been contacted this week by a number of local residents who are concerned about the changes in Stamford.
One partially-sighted man said he felt trapped in his home at night because he would not be able to see anything at all if he had to go out after midnight.
He said: “I don’t go out that often at night - but that’s not the point. I now have no choice in the matter.”
Meanwhile, Louise Smith, 37, who lives in Blackthorn, Stamford, fell over while walking along the footpath beside Sidney Farm Lane on Sunday evening.
She said: “I had been round to see a friend in Arran Road for a catch-up and walked home just after midnight.
“I didn’t know the lights were due to be switched off and was shocked to see it was absolutely pitch black. I tripped over a kerb and hurt my knee. Fortunately it was not serious, but it could have been.
“Someone could be seriously hurt and end up stuck on the ground in darkness. I’m also worried about security. If it’s dark in residential areas, it could be more appealing to criminals.”
Mrs Smith said her husband Michael, a warehouseman, leaves for work before 6am every day and has found it difficult walking to his car, parked around the corner, in the dark.
She added: “I realise the council needs to save money, but I think there could be a better solution, such as turning off every other light, rather than all of them.”
What do you think? Have you experienced any problems caused by street lights being switched off? Email firstname.lastname@example.org