Lights plan a turn-off in Framlingham

SWITCHING lights off in public areas of a market town to cut energy bills and help combat global warming could pose danger, town councillors have concluded.

By David Green

SWITCHING lights off in public areas of a market town to cut energy bills and help combat global warming could pose danger, town councillors have concluded.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has put forward plans to install electronic “part night” photo-electric cells to footway lights which would then operate only between dusk and midnight.

The council believes this will reduce energy costs by 50% and help to combat greenhouse gas emissions and light pollution.


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However, the idea has failed to win over town councillors at Framlingham.

Stephanie Bennell, town council chairman, said she and her colleagues were sympathetic to the district council's motives but could not back the plans on safety grounds.

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“Suffolk Coastal only owns about six lights in Framlingham and all of these illuminate either car parks or footways leading to car parks.

“We feel it would be dangerous for these areas not to be lit after midnight,” Ms Bennell said.

Suffolk Coastal is currently consulting 39 towns and villages over its proposals to turn footway lights off at midnight.

Town councillors at Felixstowe have already received an assurance that the council will not proceed with proposals there after they pointed out that most of the local authority's lights were on the densely populated Cavendish Park and Orwell Green estates where crime rates are among the highest in the district.

The estates have the highest rate of criminal damage and vehicle thefts within Suffolk Coastal, the second highest involving thefts from motor vehicles and the third highest for violence and burglary.

Rae Leighton, a member of the district council's cabinet, said responses to the consultation so far suggested that rural parishes were happier with the proposals than the more urban areas.

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