A WOMAN who works early mornings claims she feels unsafe now some street lights have been switched off overnight.
Irene Jones, of Cherry Tree Drive, St Martins, begins work delivering milk and newspapers at 1am and, on her rounds for Edwards Dairies, visits a number of villages and towns including Chirk, Weston Rhyn, Dudleston Heath and Ellesmere. To date, the only one which has undergone a part night lighting switch-off is her own.
Despite working similar hours for 40 years she claims this is the first time she has ever felt nervous while doing her job.
“Myself and another boy who does the same job as me are totally alone when we go out and I feel very, very unsafe.
“People are still coming home from the pubs when the lights go out and there are a lot of young people around in the early hours.
“A few weeks ago I heard voices while I was at the back of my van and three lads stepped out at me.
“You can’t even see your hand in front of your face,” she added.
Shropshire Council is rolling out the part night lighting scheme across the county as a cost-cutting measure and to reduce the amount of harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
Under the new system lights owned by the authority switch on at dusk and stay on until about midnight when they switch off, before coming back on at about 5.30am until dawn.
Mrs Jones, 52, said she had contacted the council but felt her concerns had fallen on “deaf ears” and added: “I know I’m not the only one who’s been complaining.”
But Shropshire Council assured the public the decision was taken following detailed discussion between Shropshire Council, police, town councils and parish councils about how the scheme would work and typically lights at dangerous road junctions, sheltered housing schemes or areas considered to be at a high risk of anti-social behaviour were not considered.
Claire Wild, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Evidence from other parts of the country showed that crime often decreased in areas where lights were converted to part night lighting, and indeed that has been the case here in Shropshire.
“A partnership group of council officers and the police are regularly checking crime statistics and comparing them to where lights are being converted and there has been no evidence to suggest that public safety is being affected,” she added.
l Part-night lighting began in Oswestry earlier this year but a petition has since been set up to campaign for it to cease.
More than 50 people have now signed the petition, which can befound at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/relightoswestry.
UNEASY: Below. Irene Jones feels unsafe on her milk delivery round now part night lighting has been brought in on the streets of St Martins. HD060614