Fears over when ‘the lights go out’ in Barnstaple

Joseph Bulmer

Local people asked to have their say on proposals to switch off street lighting in residential areas across Barnstaple

RESIDENTS in Barnstaple are being asked to have their say on proposals by Devon County Council to switch off street lighting in much of the town from 12.30-5.30am.

The town is one of numerous communities throughout North Devon facing the switch off in residential areas, which the county council says will save �450,000 each year on its energy bill.

But Barnstaple town councillors Simon Harvey and Michelle Watkins fear the move could have a serious effect on public safety, rising crime and vulnerable groups such as the partially sighted.

They are holding an open surgery at the Diamond Street office, next to Kwik Fit and just off the Square, on Thursday of next week (August 25) from 6-8pm.

Anyone with any concerns or comments about the proposals is welcome to go along and have their say.

The list of North Devon towns and parishes below have also been contacted by the county council about its part-night lighting scheme.

Mr Harvey said almost all of the lights were being turned out in his central ward and the Gazette understands lights in all residential streets will be affected, with some exceptions such as major traffic routes and roundabouts.

“Myself and Cllr Watkins will be writing to every resident in the ward,” he said, “we want to get the message out there to ask people to write to us if they have any concerns.,

“Suddenly after me asking and asking for a year-and-a-half DCC has decided to consult the town council and we have to have a response by September 2, so they have not given us very long.

“They are not consulting any residents and that’s why we feel; we need to ask peoples’ views.”

The Gazette ran an article highlighting Mr Harvey’s concerns in June of last year, when the scheme was being proposed for Bideford and Northam.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, county council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said Barnstaple was one of many communities across Devon to be included in the ongoing roll out of part-night lighting in residential areas, which aimed to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy costs.

“As information has only recently been sent to the town council and county councillors in Barnstaple for consultation, there is no current timescale for the introduction of the scheme in Barnstaple, but the aim would be for work to start later in the year if possible,” he said.

Communities facing part-night lighting proposals: Ashford, Atherington, Bishop’s Nympton, Bishop’s Tawton, Bratton Fleming, Braunton, Brayford, Berrynarbor, Burrington, Chittlehampton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, East and West Buckland, Filleigh, Georgeham, Goodleigh, Heanton Punchardon, Kentisbury, Knowstone, King’s Nympton, Landkey, Lynton and Lynmouth, Mariansleigh,Marwood, Meshaw, Molland, North Molton, Rackenford, Romansleigh, Rose Ash, Shirwell, South Molton, Swimbridge, Witheridge.