New street lighting is like ‘living in Scandinavia’

JPCT 071013 Philip Morris, anti- new streetlights in Garden Walk, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 071013 Philip Morris, anti- new streetlights in Garden Walk, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

New street lights, being put up across Horsham town, have been criticised as unnecessary, badly positioned, and a waste of money.

The lights are the same design as street lamps which drew complaints when they were installed in some of Horsham district’s South Downs villages earlier this year.

Philip Morris told the County Times that one has gone up in Garden Walk, within metres of his bedroom window - he compared it to ‘living in Scandinavia’. Had the contractors moved it just three inches, he said, it would not have caused a problem.

“If they notified us beforehand people would feel considerably differently,” he added. “That is the main thing.

“It is like the land of the midnight sun and we never have any darkness at all.

“Why must we black our windows out with heavy drapes and layers of blinds?”

Fellow Garden Walk resident Stephen Purvis also wasn’t happy that this had been done with no warning or consultation - although information leaflets should have gone out to all residents, Mr Purvis and Mr Morris say they did not receive one.

“It would have been nice to have been consulted about where it was being put,” he said. “If it was just a few metres further down the road, that would be better.”

The contractors told him that shading could be put over the light, but weren’t sure who he should contact to make it happen.

At the west end of town, Middleton Road resident Sylvia Pavey, pointed out that odd decisions on where to place the new lamps mean that she has two lights directly in line with her living room window, while the end of the road is unlit.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “It’s just a silly place to put them.”

Her husband Ken Pavey said the old lights would have been there for 50 years, since the estate was new.

“You’d think they’d have a talk with the residents before putting them in,” he said.

Across the road, Peter Slade pointed out that the light nearest to them is behind a tree, which shields it from the street while allowing it to light up their neighbours’ front room.

On the bright side, he said: “It’s going to make that tree look lovely.”

He and his wife Kay had been told that the new lights were needed to comply with an EU regulation.

She speculated: “If they’d been asked to spend it on social care, I wonder whether they’d do it?”

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) say they have a 25 year contract with Scottish and Southern Energy which will cost £76m, including county investment and Government credits.

Residential roads will be on ‘part night lighting’ - operating from dusk to midnight and then from 5.30am until dawn.

Town centres and main distributor roads are on ‘all night lighting’, which dims by 40 per cent after midnight, reverting to full light level from 5.30am to dawn.

A WSCC spokesman said their target is a 25 per cent reduction in energy required for lighting.

“The modelling is sophisticated and forms an integral part of the service level written into the contract,” he said.

“The contract is on line to exceed this target.”