Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The lights are going off in Rushmere....

By now many of you would have started to see orange Suffolk County Council signs appear on Rushmere Ward streets, informing you that your street lights will soon be switched off between midnight and 5.30am.

I believe in principle it is a good idea to turn the lights off, not only saving the County money but also helping reduce our carbon footprint. What I have not been happy about is the way the Tory run County have failed to inform residents and not to have in place a procedure that residents can follow if they believe their street should stay lit.

What has even been more disappointing than the failure of the County to inform residents of the switch off is the way certain Ipswich Tory councillors, candidates and activists have attempted to scare residents with talk of muggings and petty crime but then to say the Labour run Ipswich Borough Council are the ones who are turning the lights off!

Thankfully this week at least two senior Tories have been more honest when talking about the proposed light switch off. In his Evening Star column this week, the Tory councillor for Bixley, Kym Stroet was quoted 'Although we (IBC) are responsible for only a small proportion of the street lights, as councillors we need to allay fears of residents'. Former Tory councillor Gavin Maclure even commented on a previous post by me that Ipswich Tories should not be saying it is the Borough turning the lights off.

Hopefully that message will get over to former Tory Candidate James Spencer who believes the streets of Bridge will become more dangerous because of Labour and Kevin Algar who also blogged how it was a Labour plan to turn lights off.

As both these Tory supporting blogs often get their facts wrong it is no surprise they got the 'lights off' facts wrong, but there was little excuse for the Tories in Holywells ward to put out a leaflet that was very unclear on who was behind the plan to turn them off (even if the Tory County councillors from Ipswich voted for the plan).

We will see how the 'switch off' goes, but if any Ipswich resident feels that they need to have their street stay lit up, please contact your Labour councillor and we will take the matter up with the County Council.


Carl said...

I normally agree with you, and was looking forward to some support in this matter, but it appears you are 'happy' with the cutting of our street lights. Although I am not often walking Brunswick Road after midnight, I know that folk returning from nightclubs do. The Case is Altered closes at the time the lights are being switched off, so getting home will be difficult for them. The pavements and kerbs are far from perfect, and trip hazards are everywhere. Cars are bumped up in the most ridiculous places. We are heading for dark nights. The opportunity for undisturbed burglary is heightened, petty vandalism can be carried out under the cover of darkness to property and motor vehicles. How many more wing mirrors, wiper blades, fences, brick walls will disappear? Why didn't someone with some brains decide to cut the lights later at 3am. Midnight is frankly ridiculous. The first falls, or crimes, that can be apportioned to the lights ceasing will I am sure invite claims against the council, far outweighing the paltry savings that are to made.And as for the increased possibility of mugging and worse, I hope this has been thought through.
Street lighting in the hours of darkness is 'close' to a civil right, and it's removal at a time of night that it is needed is frankly an utter disgrace. After all I believe this would equate to one less authority figure at the council? Oh and in this politically correct world, how on earth are the council getting away with it. The council imposed curfew is on, in your home by midnight, oh and make sure your security lights are working.Don't suppose we'll get police patrols to make up for it!! LOL

Carl said...

Oh and dog pooh on your shoes at 1am... nice!

Alasdair Ross said...

Thank you for your comments - I do think it is a good idea to turn the lights off but where the County Council failed is not to ask the opinions of residents before they turned them off.
I think we need to give it at least two months and if residents still feel unhappy with the lights being off, I will take up their concerns with the County council