Leeds City Council acts over street light switch off burglary fear

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A reprieve has been issued to residents who were afraid burglars would take advantage of plans to turn of their street lights overnight.

A number of people living in Leeds Road, Oulton, reacted angrily to letters they received from Leeds City Council’s highways department stating their streets would face a blackout between midnight and 5.30am from January 13.

The overnight switch-off was planned as part of a city-wide plan designed to save the authority more than £1m over the next decade. It was said to avoid areas with above average incidents of crime or traffic collisions.

But Oulton residents cited reports of break-ins and car thefts to councillors and highways chiefs in the hope the decision would be reversed – something the authority now looks set to review.

Coun Karen Bruce (Lab, Rothwell) said: “The safety of residents is paramount and in my opinion this stretch of road doesn’t fit in with the rest of the roads included, which are main roads which aren’t residential.”

Fellow ward councillor Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) said the council’s policy to roll out its part-night switch-offs to 8,000 of the city’s lights by September 2014 was “short-sighted and dangerous”.

He said: “They say the switch-off is only for low crime areas, but criminals travel, and as the comments of local residents point out this move makes people feel considerably more vulnerable, for good reason.”

Leeds Road residents have already met with highways chiefs over speeding and signage concerns on the road. A council spokesman said: “We have decided to put work there on hold to allow us to fully investigate the issues they have raised and to explore alternative solutions. We will look again at these proposals and work with local representatives to address their concerns.”

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