Homeowners will be left without street lights in new estate

Construction work to build 520 homes at Postwick off Smee Lane between the Broadland Business Park a

Construction work to build hundreds of homes in Postwick between the Broadland Business Park and the NDR - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Excited families moving into swanky new homes in a city estate will be left in the dark after two councils and a developer refused to stump up the cash for street lights.

The Oaks is being developed by Allison Homes in land south of Smee Lane on the edge of Postwick, near the NDR and A47.

Broadland District Council has granted full planning permission for 315 homes and work has started on the build.

Although Norfolk County Council will provide lights on the Poppy Way roundabout, it said developers must provide light on the residential roads in the estate.

However it added provision and maintenance is only needed where "there is a highways safety requirement".

As such, developer Allison Homes has confirmed just five street lights will be put in - all at the entrance to the development in Smee Lane.

Su Allport, Postwick with Witton parish council clerk, said the county council decided residential streets in the large new development did not meet the requirement for lights.

As such it asked the parish council - which currently only caters for 74 homes - to fork out instead.

How The Oaks development will look after it is completed off Smee Lane in Postwick

How The Oaks development will look after it is completed off Smee Lane in Postwick, Norfolk - Credit: Allison Homes

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She said members declined the offer in July, adding: "We are a small parish council. We don't want to be responsible for paying for lighting on The Oaks."

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: "Norfolk County Council’s policy on street lighting changed in 2015.

"The policy change was a good way of rationalising the street lighting throughout the county, reducing our spend and minimising our carbon emission, energy consumption and light pollution.

"Many districts do not take on any new lighting under policy, so we consult parishes.

"Street lighting is a power, not a duty, and there is no requirement for the parish to take on lighting."

Green Party Broadland district councillor Eleanor Laming

Green Party Broadland councillor Eleanor Laming - Credit: Contributed

Eleanor Laming, Broadland District Council Green Party member for Postwick, said: "The business parks nearby (Broadland Gate, St Andrews Park and the Meridian Business Park) are all brightly lit from street lighting and office building lights through the night.

"This contributes to light pollution which disrupts wildlife circadian rhythms and does not fit in with government dark skies policy.  

"On the other hand it appears that lighting in this new residential development is not being supported. 

"It's a matter of balance.

"We need areas where people feel walking and cycling is safe. It is likely young people and families will move into these houses.

"A small parish council such as Postwick does not have the expertise or finances to pay for maintenance.  

"Substantial numbers of homes are planned for in the Greater Norwich Local Plan so will this situation apply to other developments?"

The county council spokesman reiterated: "Again, street lighting is a power and not a duty."

Derek Williams, a spokesman for the Norwich Cycling Campaign 

Derek Williams, a spokesman for the Norwich Cycling Campaign - Credit: Thomas Woods

Sue Warwick, managing director for Allison Homes Eastern Counties, said: "As part of the cycleway extension, we will also be making modifications to existing street lighting.

“The Oaks is a very exciting and sustainable new development that will consist of public open spaces and equipped areas of play, and as part of the S106 agreement we will provide approximately £602k worth of contributions to the community.

"As the site progresses, we will continue to engage in an open line of communication with the community.”

Broadland also granted outline planning permission for an extra 205 homes, public open space and a two-hectare site for several uses including a primary school, creche, community hall, day nursery, outdoor and indoor sports facilities, nursing home and continuing care retirement community which is part of phase 3 and 4 of the development.

This has prompted fears that down the line children walking to and from school may do so in the dark.

Mrs Laming said: "Land has been allocated for a school and community hall and in winter months children and parents should feel safe."

Derek Williams, from Norwich Cycling Campaign group, said: "Lighting should be environmentally friendly in terms of restricting light spill and by the use of low energy bulbs."