The roll out of new street lighting in Worthing has caused considerable disruption, despite assurances from West Sussex County Council this would not be the case.
Pavements have been blocked for many weeks and there has been far more digging up of roads than anticipated.
These things are a nuisance, but it is the change in lighting strategy that is giving greater concern.
More than 20 years ago, Worthing and West Sussex councils took the decision to change many roads in Worthing to all-night lighting, which was done to primarily to provide safer walking conditions and reduce crime.
Everybody, bar potential troublemakers, seems to have been happy with this arrangement and as part of the new lighting project, Worthing council was consulted regarding changes to the lighting strategy.
They stated that no changes should be made to the existing policy and at one of the public meetings about the new lighting held at the Heene Community Centre in October, 2011, WSCC officials confirmed there would be no changes made to the all night lighting policy.
The reality is, of course, completely different.
The great majority of Worthing’s residential streets are being fitted with new white lamps which switch off between midnight and 1am.
Whilst some very quiet streets may be happy with this arrangement, those used as walking routes by revellers staggering home have already suffered an increase in vandalism and petty crime.
For people using the streets innocently walking home, the darkness is daunting and frightening and the fear of crime is greatly increased.
Paul Yallop, leader of Worthing Council, has made strong representations to WSCC regarding restoring the previous arrangement, but has been totally rebuffed.
WSCC have decided our streets will be plunged into darkness and they will not listen to any requests for change.
Amazingly, it would seem the lamps cannot just have their timers changed to enable different lighting times, the whole lamp assembly has to be changed.
According to WSCC this would be too expensive.
So they make a mistake and it becomes our problem.
Only if there is a dramatic increase in crime will any consideration be given to changing the lamps and enabling all-night lighting.
Let us be under no illusions about this, it is all about money.
All the new lamps being installed use far less energy than the old system and these alone would satisfy reduced energy and emission targets.
Given that some of the new lighting is decidedly gloomy and there is a relentless move to switch off as many lights as possible, perhaps this should be called the “Darkness Project”!
Browning Road, Worthing