Share your view on the great switch off

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Ev­ery week Kent County Coun­cil chiefs ap­pear to re­lease a new street­light pro­posal that will save taxpayers mil­lions. First they an­nounce they are go­ing to switch off all the street­lights around the county. Then maybe just some of them. Then they an­nounce they plan to turn them all back on at night. Then they de­cide that ac­tu­ally they won’t. It’s hard to keep up.

But now the coun­cil has an­nounced that the street­lights could ac­tu­ally just be turned down a bit thanks to new LED tech­nol­ogy.

The on­go­ing street­light saga has been a heated topic of de­bate for res­i­dents for years, af­ter the coun­cil first an­nounced they would turn out the lights.

Nu­mer­ous peo­ple have claimed the switch-off in­creased the level of crime in their com­mu­ni­ties, or cer­tainly their fear of it.

Last year a vic­tim of no­to­ri­ous Ash­ford sex at­tacker John Wil­liams is­sued a plea to KCC to switch the lights back on. The woman was grabbed from be­hind near Sin­gle­ton Lake and sex­u­ally as­saulted.

She said the at­tack left her too para­noid to walk in the dark and started a pe­ti­tion to keep the lights on at night to pre­vent oth­ers suf­fer­ing her night­mare.

But Kent Po­lice said there was no link be­tween street­lights and in­creased crime.

Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t but the only way KCC will truly know the im­pact of switch­ing off street­lights is if we tell them.

This week they launched a 10-week con­sul­ta­tion invit­ing opin­ion on the new LED sys­tem.

What­ever your views on the great switch off, we think the coun­cil re­ally needs to hear them.

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