Crime fears as Welwyn Hatfield streetlights are switched off

A BLACKOUT across a huge number of Welwyn Hatfield’s roads has led to residents fearing of crime, their own safety, and their taxes being wasted.

Since the streetlights were switched off last month, the Welwyn Hatfield Times has been inundated with complaints about the new scheme – aiming to reduce the �10m bill – with it affecting not only party-goers walking home, but also late-night workers and businesses too.

The Hertfordshire County Council programme sees a huge amount of lights being turned off – 75 per cent across Hertfordshire – and in Welwyn Hatfield this includes some of our most major residential and through roads including Beehive Lane, Howlands, Knella Road, Handside Lane, in WGC and Stonecross Road, Ellenbrook Lane and Southdown Road, in Hatfield, only being “part lit” between midnight and 6am.

The aim for the council is not only to save itself more than �1m a year, but also to cut down on the carbon emissions bill.

However, it is a move which has met a mixed reception.

Nicky Loft, 22, of Hatfield, was one of the complainers who was very concerned for public safety.

The Harmony Close resident said: “It’s a terrible idea, it won’t be long before there is a violent crime, or a string of crimes and by then it will be too late.

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“A 10-minute walk is now like 10 times more dangerous.

“I understand we need to cut costs or CO2 emissions or something but it’s a risky move.”

However not everyone believed the switch-off was such a bad idea.

Adam Ginty, of Archers Ride, WGC, said: “We’ve got to make cuts in local government spending of �200m by 2014 just to stay afloat.

“Cuts are never easy, and there will always be arguments for the negative and for the positive.

“The provision of street lights is not a legal obligation, and [pubs such as] The Cork and The Doctors Tonic are lucky if one per cent of the entire population of WGC is using the town after 12am.”

For more reaction, the county council’s view, as well as facts and figures, buy this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times.