Street lights in Barnstaple are to be switched off overnight from next year.

In the new year, Devon County Council (DCC) is beginning a programme of modernisation to convert thousands of street lights to lower wattage LED lighting.

‘Part-night’ lighting will also be introduced in residential streets. The council announced its intention in 2012 to switch off lights between 12.30-5.30am, but, after opposition, agreed to keep dozens of town centre streets lit all night.

Work will begin in Newport ward and then progress generally from east to west across the town, converting lighting on the A and B roads, but also residential lighting, where part-night operation will be brought in.

The council has said the extent of lighting reduction will not be any more than previously agreed and the quality of lighting will actually be improved.

Town councillor Ian Roome said he had some concerns: “It’s essential that areas where people are commuting remain lit for safety reasons and if people have any concerns they should contact the county council.

“We all know that money is short, but it needs to be done with public safety in mind.”

The project is part of a successful DCC bid for £10million from the Department of Transport to convert some 24,000 street lights, with Barnstaple one of the last to be done.