Streetlight plan discussed at town meeting

A HANDFUL of people turned out to listen to proposals to dim Battle’s streetlights.

Around 20 people, including members of the public, town councillors and representatives from the police, packed into a small room in the Almonry on Monday evening to find out more about the plans.

Battle Town Council wants to turn off streetlights in residential areas between midnight-5.30am in a bid to cut down on soaring electricity bills, save energy and cut light pollution.

The council is proposing to phase the introduction of part night lighting over three years, starting in April 2013.

In the first year this will be combined with a major maintenance and replacement programme.

Some of the lighting columns which are to be replaced date back to the 1960s.

The change to part night lighting involves replacing a photo electric cell and will cost about £11,000 over three years. The investment will be quickly repaid as the council will save £6,000 annually on electricity bills.

East Sussex County Council is responsible for streetlighting on the major roads in Battle, including the A2100 and High Street. The authority wants to dim the lights on these routes, but maintains the change would be very slight.

A number of concerns were expressed by residents on Monday.

One feared part night lighting could lead to an increase in falls, but a representative from ESCC said there had been no reported incidents in other towns which had seen a change in streetlighting in the past year.

Another resident said he was concerned the measures could affect passengers on the last train, which arrives at Battle station after midnight.

One woman raised concerns about the lack of lighting in Market Square. Cllr Margaret Kiloh, chair of the town council’s services committee, said the Square is privately owned and the council had written to those responsible.

Battle Council has consulted with the police over the plans and say there is ‘no evidence’ that street lighting changes have led to an increase in road accidents or crime in other towns.

Rother Council says it has ‘no plans’ to switch off or dim lights in the town’s car parks.

Streets which are to be included in the first wave of work in April, subject to discussions with contractors, are: Darvel Down and Middle Close in Netherfield, Coronation Gardens, Marley Gardens, Marley Rise, Marley Close, St Mary’s Villas, St Mary’s Terrace, Kingsdale Close, Abbotts Close, Asten Fields, Norman Close and Battle Gates.