Concerned residents in Boston are calling for their street lights to be switched back on.
Jamie Brown is leading the campaign to get the lights in parts of the town switched on throughout the night after Lincolnshire County Council decided to switch them off at midnight as part of cost saving measures.
It’s really scary. When the lights were on I could see shadows further out and you could see someone coming, but when it’s pitch black there is no shadow.Anita Holmes
But residents say it has led to an increase in anti-social behaviour and shift workers forced to walk in complete darkness.
But the county council says that ‘evidence suggests that part-night lighting is safe’.
Residents say they have seen an increase in anti-social behaviour and one has been forced to walk to work using the torch on their mobile since recent changes to street lighting.
Tower Road was changed to part-night lighting, where the lights are switched off from midnight until 6am, leaving resident Anita Holmes with a 15 minute walk in complete darkness using only her phone torch as light.
Mrs Holmes, who walks with the aid of crutches, can set off for work at Asda in the early hours depending on her shifts and said the walk can be ‘intimidating’.
She said: “It’s really scary. When the lights were on I could see shadows further out and you could see someone coming, but when it’s pitch black there is no shadow.”
She said it is also not safe because of trip hazards and the ease at which pedestrians can ‘wander onto the road’.
The lights on Woad Farm Road have also been converted into part lighting, and resident Jamie Brown, who has organised a petition calling for the lights to be turned back on says anti-social behaviour has increased since the changes.
His campaign has already had more than 340 signatures since it was launched last Monday.
Mr Brown, a self-employed carpet cleaner, told The Standard: “Since they’ve been switched off, we’ve noticed a lot more anti-social behaviour. I’ve been woken three or four times by people being noisy outside and I’ve chased some lads off a couple of times to protect my work van.”
Mr Brown said he had not reported incidents to police.
Organisers of a private Woad Farm Alerts Facebook page have organised a meeting at the Queen of Spades on April 6.
They have invited MP Matt Warman who said: “I was concerned to hear of an apparent increase in anti-social behaviour in this area and would always encourage people to report such incidents to the police.
“While I support the principle of not lighting all areas, all of the time, I think that lighting should be provided where there is evidence that it is justified. I know that the council is looking at options to consider locations where issues are raised on a case by case basis, and I look forward to discussing these with residents at the public meeting in April.”
Lincolnshire County Council has converted 17,000 lights to LED, turned 38,000 into part-nighting and turned 3,000 lights off.
Executive member for highways and transport Coun Richard Davies said: “We appreciate some people may be concerned by the changes, but the evidence suggests that part-night lighting is safe.
“And by saving money in this way, we can protect other vital areas that do impact on public safety, like the pothole budget.
“Part-night lighting has been in place in some parts of the county for almost a year now, and there has been no noticeable impact according to Lincolnshire Police.
“But of course, public safety remains an overriding concern, so we will continue to monitor any effects the changes might have.”