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Gorleston lights switch-off fears

PUBLISHED: 19:32 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 30 June 2010

WORRIED Gorleston residents are pleading for their street lights to be saved because of late night anti-social behaviour.

Norfolk County Council has begun consultations on its plans to switch off 27,000 street lights across the county between midnight and 5am to save £167,000, and these include 13 lights in Beach Road.

WORRIED Gorleston residents are pleading for their street lights to be saved because of late night anti-social behaviour.

Norfolk County Council has begun consultations on its plans to switch off 27,000 street lights across the county between midnight and 5am to save £167,000, and these include 13 lights in Beach Road.

But residents there are concerned about the proposals, as they live close to the town's main seafront attractions, and claim they have chronic problems with drunken revellers at weekends.

Emma Boarder, 39, said she had been forced to park her car in an off road space because its wing mirrors get regularly smashed by drunks. Other anti-social behaviour has included flowerpots being left on top of cars and takeaway boxes and wrappers being dumped in her front garden, which is only separated from the pavement by a low wall.

The situation became so bad she said, she wrote to MP Tony Wright and the police about it, but claimed she only got “bland” replies.

The mum-of-one said: “It can be quite intimidating because I live here with my daughter and if I heard somebody smashing my car outside I would not go out because I would not know if I was going to get a brick through the window. And if there were no lights on as well then that would be even more intimidating.”

She acknowledged problems with criminal activity existed with the lights still switched on, but believed these would be even worse with the lights switched off.

Neighbours Brian and Anne Jarvis said police had told them they had had reports about people behaving strangely in their area between 1.30am and 2.30am and they feared problems with suspicious activity would be worsened with lights switched off.

Mr Jarvis said: “I think the switch off plans are absolutely disgusting because we are especially worried about security because we have a lot of trouble with revellers. We often have people urinating on cars in this street.”

Mr Jarvis, 66, who has lived in the road for eight years, said the lights had been replaced with new energy efficient lamps designed to cut costs and he could not understand why the county council needed to make further savings.

The county council's scrutiny committee will re-examine the ruling Conservative cabinet's decision to switch off the lights after the Liberal Democrat and Green groups called in part of the decision on the basis that proper consultation had not been carried out.

In the north Yarmouth area, 396 of the 487 lights the council owns could be switched off.

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