Members of all the major parties in Boston have pledged to support a campaign to get street lights switched back on in the Woad Farm area of Boston following a heated debate last night (Thursday).
A meeting, organised by Lorraine O’Connor and Jamie Brown, of the Woad Farm Alerts Facebook page, saw councillors Paul Gleeson (Labour), Sue Ransome (UKIP) and Martin Griggs (Conservative), along with Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman promise to back the residents in their fight for lighting.
In what on a few occasions became a passionate debate by Boston residents, those living in the area told those attending - which also included Boston Community Inspector Andy Morrice and Susan Sendall from Boston Mayflower – of their concerns over a rise in crime, and the health and safety of those living and walking about, for example to and from work, in unlit areas.
All those attending agreed the current arrangements by Lincolnshire County Council were not suitable for the area and agreed to help the campaigners and residents fight to get lighting back on.
Mr Warman said: “I am here to say to you I am willing to support you when you say you don’t feel safe, there is a reason why we think the lights should be back on.”
Residents were also advised to report criminal incidents, whether they believed police were going to help or not, to the 101 number to gather incident numbers and give police official statistics.
Lincolnshire County Council has converted 17,000 lights to LED, turned 38,000 into part-nighting and turned 3,000 lights off.
Tower Road was changed to part-night lighting, where the lights are switched off from midnight until 6am, leaving residents such as Anita Holmes with a 15 minute walk in complete darkness using only her phone torch as light
The lights on Woad Farm Road have also been converted into part lighting.
It is believed the county wide changes will make annual savings of £1.7million.
Organiser Jamie said: “It was very positive, especially towards the end when we realised we were all on the same page and they are actually in agreement with us as residents.”
Lorraine said she hoped those attending ‘stick to their word’.
No-one from Lincolnshire County Council highways was at the meeting, however a statement this morning from Richard Wills, Executive Director for Highways, said: “I want to reassure people that the evidence suggests that part-night lighting is safe and leaves the majority of road users unaffected.
“These changes have 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. In fact, other authorities, such as North Yorkshire and Warwickshire, have seen significant decreases in crime as a result of similar changes.
“We will not be changing our street lighting policy at this time, but the county council will monitor any effects the changes to street lighting have.
“We’ve committed to carrying out a review within a year of the project being complete, looking at actual crime and road safety stats, in addition to looking at ways we can address the concerns of individual businesses or resident groups.”
See the video above for some of the meeting and an interview with Lorraine and Jamie on how they felt the meeting went.
To read more about the group’s campaign click here.