SOS: Save Our Streetlights!
Folkestone West County Councillor Tim Prater is leading the fight against a series of Kent proposed street light removals across Shepway and the rest of Kent.
Kent have proposed over 200 streetlights to be removed across Shepway. The removal programme is explained as a plan to save money and power.
Tim Prater led a move at County Hall to require any streetlight removals to have local approval. He moved a Lib Dem motion to ensure any removal would only go ahead with endorsement from local transport boards, but the motion was quashed to County Tories who voted instead to make local opinion only advisory.
Streetlight removals proposed that would particularly affect Folkestone West division include:
- all columns on the A239 Sandgate Hill from the Junction of Dixwell Road (both sides) to the bus stop by the junction with Coolinge Lane;
- all columns along A259 Sandgate Esplanade from just before the end of Coastguard Cottages to almost the junction with Princes Parade;
- all columns from J12 M20 to A20 junction with Peene.
Tim Prater commented:
"The Tories at County Hall talk about putting people and partnership at the heart of decisions but have completely failed to do so. The proposals are a dangerous disgrace for Shepway.
"I'm as in favour of saving money and power as anyone. If the county had launched a fair consultation on lighting, that would be different. A consultation that actually asked Districts, Towns and Parishes their views on a range of energy savings options to meet an overall savings target: that would have been a good way forward. Issuing diktats on lights to be removed is anything but that.
"But anyone who has even visited our area, let alone lived here, would know their plan is dangerous nonsense. County hall Tories have lost all touch with reality and what is important.
"This is a huge cut in frontline services - dark, dangerous main roads at night. Whatever the Conservative rhetoric, their cuts are biting. They need to be stopped."
"If the removals put forward for Folkestone West are indicative on how badly judged they are elsewhere in the County, there will rightly be huge protests against the schemes: they are simply dangerous. Even worse, the cost of removing the lights will dwarf the savings to be made for years, and if (and when) it becomes obvious these removals have caused crashes, how much more will it cost to put the lights back?
"Sandgate Esplanade - the lights are along a residential stretch of road, which includes a bar, a hotel and a pub. It is well walked at night, and along the A259 which is heavily used by traffic at all times.
"Sandgate Hill - a downward approach to a junction with Coolinge Lane on which two schools are based. Kent Highways have installed traffic calming measures on that hill - after years of pressure from the local community. Yet now Kent Highways want to remove the lighting in this spot!
"A20 approach to J12 M20: the junction into Peene is made much safer with the lights there, as is the works entrance into the Channel Tunnel, making much of that stretch of lights important for road safety. Also, a number of people walk / cycle to the Eurotunnel site entrance after dark as its a 24 hour operation. Do we really want them to do that in the dark?"