Street light switch-off in Otley and Aireborough ‘will not affect safety’ (From Wharfedale Observer)
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Street light switch-off in Otley and Aireborough ‘will not affect safety’
Residents' safety will not be compromised when a partial switch-off of street lights begins in Wharfedale next week.
That is the local police inspector's view on a city-wide scheme Leeds City Council hopes will save £1.3 million over the next decade.
Lights on some roads in Adel & Wharfedale will be turned off between midnight and 5.30am from Monday, October 21 - with more in Otley & Yeadon to follow two weeks later.
Concerns have been raised that the shutdown could cause a spike in overnight crime or accidents, but Inspector Richard Coldwell of the Aireborough & Wharfedale Neighbourhood Policing Team is confident that won't happen.
He said: "In our neighbourhoods I think people should be reassured that they live in a relatively low-crime area and that this scheme will not affect community safety in any way.
"The switch-off does not occur until midnight, when the majority of people will be at home and probably in bed.
"And looking at part of the Adel & Wharfedale ward, for example, Bramhope village will not be in darkness, just the main road in the rural areas – and even then at key junctions like the Dyneley Arms crossroads the lights will be kept on for road safety reasons."
The switch-off will include sections of Leeds Road at Bramhope, Otley Road at Adel/Bramhope; and Pool Bank New Road both from the Dyneley Arms junction up towards the turn-off for Old Pool Bank, and in the opposite direction heading down towards Pool.
Councillor Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) is also hopeful there will be no major problems.
He said: "I have now been advised on the streets and sent maps and details.
"Receiving those last Thursday was leaving it a bit close to the date of implementation, and I know there are some residents who have reservations.
"But in the main the people who have contacted me about it have said what the council is trying to do makes sense. I'm happy that, for my ward, they've stuck to their word and haven't gone into any residential areas or areas where there's a record of crime.
"So hopefully when the lights are turned off it won't have a big effect."
Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), however, said it was "unbelievable" he was still waiting on details for Otley & Yeadon when that ward's switch-off was due to start on Monday, November 4.
He said: "We've been asking for information about which streets will be affected but they've told me it's not ready yet, so they've been keeping the ward members in the dark.
"I can't believe that information is not available so close to it happening.
"If, as I'm led to believe, this is only affecting main roads in rural areas and saving us money and energy then, on balance, I won't be so concerned.
"But until they provide me with the full information I'll remain concerned."
More details can be found by visiting leeds.gov.uk/sles, sending an e-mail to Highways@leeds.gov.uk, or calling (0113) 222 4407.
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