Poll: Should Shropshire Council reverse its policy on switching off street lights at night?

A campaign calling for street lights across the county be switched back on after midnight has divided the opinion of civic leaders.

Poll: Should Shropshire Council reverse its policy on switching off street lights at night?

They spoke as the number of people who have signed a petiton demanding the lights be switched back on rose to more than 440.

The mayors of Ellesmere, Wem and Whitchurch say they are in two minds about whether Shropshire Council should reverse a policy which has so far seen thousands of street lights switched off between midnight and 5.30am.

The town leaders say they understand people's concerns about the dangers of walking in areas of total darkness at night, but can appreciate the council's need to save money.

  • Should Shropshire Council reverse its policy on switching off street lights at night? Vote in our poll and have your say in the comment box below.

A petition was set-up by residents in Market Drayton last week, who say they would like the lights back on to help deter crime and make people feel safer in their homes.

Councillor Rob Hewson, mayor of Whitchurch, said: "It is something I support. We have got a petition going in Whitchurch as well and I have signed it.

"It is important lights are on for security. There are people who go to work at 4am in the morning.

"Yes they have got to save money but surely not at the expense of the rate payers who are paying for the facility."

Alan Clarke, mayor of Ellesmere, said: "From the public perspective, it is a clear request to have the lights put on.

"I am in two minds. I appreciate Shropshire Council's need to save money, but if you speak to police for argument's sake, there has been no increase in crime.

"In fact they say it acts as a deterrent because thieves can't see what they are doing."

Councillor Mandy Meakin, mayor of Wem, said: "We had people wonder what was going on and they asked if the lights were broken. We explained what Shropshire Council was doing and that the town council's light would stay on.

"Some people were concerned about Pyms Road but there has been no outcry about it.

"I personally wouldn't want to walk somewhere at night in the pitch black.

"I can't see the amount of money they are going to save on. Shropshire Council has had to pay for the lights to go off and come back on again."

Councillor Tim Beckett, mayor of Market Drayton, said the town council fully supports the petition and is urging as many people as possible to sign it.

Sian Rushton and Mike Smith, the people behind the petition, said they are pleased with how many people have signed it so far, but have urged more to do so.

They were at Market Drayton's weekly Wednesday market yesterday trying to get more signatures.

Shropshire Council operates 18,300 street lights around the county and had identified more than 6,000 as being "crucial to public safety", which will remain in constant operation.

It plans to switch about 12,500 of the county's street lights to part night lighting by next year.

Councillor Claire Wild, cabinet member for highways and transport, said a huge amount of work took place to ensure that the areas included in the programme were suitable.

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