STREET lights could be turned off at night as part of council savings but concerns have been raised over crime.
Hampshire County Council is running a public consultation for a number of changes that will help the authority to save money including turning off streetlights in residential areas after midnight.
The document says: ‘The county council is proposing to initially save £230,000 per annum by switching off street lights for a minimum of two or more hours per night, every night, on some residential streets from April 2019.’
The county council indicated only roads with a low crime rate will have their lights switched off overnight but residents are worried the lack of street lights will increase crime rates.
Chair of Hayling Island Residents’ Association Anne Skennerton said: ‘I think this raises a number of concerns as they say it would only be areas with low crime but this is probably because they are well lit so if you take the lights out crime would rise.’
Currently energy for street lighting costs approximately £2.7million per annum.
Anne added: ‘I think most people would feel concerned for their safety whether they were in a car or walking in an area that had no lights.’
The consultation also asks for people’s views on extending the street light switch off to main roads and city centres,
Chair of the Hill Head Residents’ Association Bill Hutchinson said: ‘I think it would be alright on residential streets but in terms of the town centre I think people would feel safer if there were lights on particularly groups of vulnerable people.
‘It definitely raises a question mark on safety.’
Superintendent Tony Rowlinson who oversees neighbourhood policing delivery in the Hampshire County Council area said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary will work with our partners at Hampshire County Council as part of their consultation process to ensure that we understand and comment on the evidence base for which areas may be included in these street lighting proposals.
‘The partnership response that we will be part of will look to balance the requirements of our communities and our partners.’
The consultation will close on Sunday, August 5 and for details visit hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations/publictransportandstreetlighting