Norwich families campaign to keep Mile Cross street lights on

A petition calling on the county council to abandon its planned street lights switch-off after midnight in Mile Cross has been handed to County Hall on the grounds that it would 'cause danger to residents including crime, anti-social behaviour and vandalism'.

The petition containing 595 names was collected by Ralph Gayton, the prospective Labour party candidate to replace Steve Morphew in Mile Cross when he steps down in May, and was handed to Linda Jennings from the council's part-night lighting team yesterday.

Last year the county council agreed the general county-wide policy of moving to part-night lighting on quiet residential streets. Bosses want to turn out 27,000 lights across the county, with about 5,900 in Norwich due to go out.

Council officers, who need to save �155m over the next three years, say streets on the list are due to be switched off unless people can come up with a valid reason why they should stay on.

Mr Gayton said: 'There are 43 streets in Mile Cross on the list for lights switch-off, and of the doors I knocked on for the petition I would say only about 10 people refused to sign. It's a big issue.'

The county council has already consulted the police and safer neighbourhood teams, as well as city and county councillors, on the suitability of streets. This was followed by letters to residents in affected streets.

The council has had 64 letters of objection from those in the north of Norwich, including Mile Cross, and a small number in support.

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County council spokesman John Birchall said: 'A report on the consultation in the north of Norwich will be going to the director of environment, transport and development (Mike Jackson) and cabinet member for travel and transport (Graham Plant) shortly to consider responses to the householder consultation and whether any additional streets should be added to the exemptions. The petition presented by Mr Gayton will be drawn to their attention.'

The council said the lights switch-off will save around �167,000 a year and cut annual CO2 emissions by 1,000 tonnes.

However, the council recognises that not all streets are suitable, and only those with low levels of traffic and low crime rates are included on the lists. There are also various other exemptions including high security buildings, hospitals, CCTV areas, traffic calming, and pedestrian alleys.

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