Street-lights in Leamington will stay switched-off despite protests and a proposal to switch them back on which was rejected by Warwickshire council Tory members.
The council decided back in October to switch off 80 per cent of street-lights in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth between midnight and 5.30am, in order to save an estimated £500,000 a year and reduce the council’s carbon footprint.
However, the move has been subject to much criticism.
After the rejection of the proposal to bring them back on, Jane Tandy, labour Councillor and leader of the opposition, told the Coventry Telegraph “we have argued against this policy ever since it was agreed by the Conservatives last year.”
“The debacle and shambles of the last few weeks have proven how little support there is for it and, as a result of the concerns that have been expressed, we have allocated part of our budget to enable the lights to be switched back on during the night.”
Women’s Officer of the SU, Alys Cooke, expressed concerns for students walking home in badly-lit areas, telling the Boar: “Switching off the street lights doesn’t make any sense. They have made every student’s walk home after midnight more dangerous, and the streets of Leamington more intimidating.”
“Considering there are viable alternatives, like LED lights which produce less pollution, and are cheaper to run, switching off the streetlights seems to be an ill thought through decision made by a council more concerned with saving money than the safety of their residents. Students should not have to feel unnecessarily uncomfortable walking home after dark, yet these switch offs are all happening in residential, quiet areas, where most students live.”
She advised: “If students do feel unsafe – jump in a licensed taxi, or walk home with a mate.”
Student response has reflected these concerns. Giulia Spissu, a second-year English Literature student, told the Boar: “I don’t feel at all safe walking around Leamington at night on my own, particularly in the areas that are a bit dingy, but I often find that it’s inevitable as I don’t have a car.”
And it’s not just a problem for female students. Dan Cole, third year PPE student, expressed his disappointment, and said: “This is typical of the Tory onslaught on the basic public services normal people need . . . the last person to leave Britain doesn’t even have to turn out the lights.”