BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Chichester street light saga continues

Streetlights in Little Breach, Chichester, which is set to go dark after midnight
Streetlights in Little Breach, Chichester, which is set to go dark after midnight

A CRIME deterrent or a nuisance?

The debate continues to rage about all-night street lighting in Chichester.

Last year, all-night lighting became a fixture on city streets after West Sussex County Council replaced all the street lights as part of a county-wide initiative with Scottish and Southern Energy.

However, there has been a backlash from city residents, with many taking against the all-night lighting.

Ivan Gardner, of Guildford Place, welcomed the news the lights in his street could be switched off after midnight.

“It’s like having a beacon shining straight into your room,” he said.

He went on to say: “There’s just no need for it at night.

“It’s nice to see the night sky.”

He said he could understand why lights on main roads and city-centre streets should remain on throughout the night, but said there was ‘no need’ on quieter, residential streets.

However, Ian Steel, of Winchester Drive, reiterated the view that all-night lighting could help make city streets safer.

“As a safety and crime-prevention point of view, it’s excellent they have them on all the time,” he said.

Mr Steel is the Chichester contact for Neighbourhood Watch, however he stressed his opinion was his own personal view and did not necessarily reflect the official Neighbourhood watch position.

He said he was sure the lights acted as a ‘deterrent’ to criminals, adding it could be a ‘retrograde step’ to have the lights off during the night again.

The county council said parish councils – in this case Chichester City Council – were asked in recent years if they wanted to change the existing street light regime across the county.

Until last year, Chichester was a part-night lighting zone.

In 2005, consultation showed Chichester wanted part-night, however this switched in the 2008 consultation to all-night lighting.

A report on the lighting presented to a county council committee in February said in rolling out the new street light programme, there were ‘difficulties in engaging with the public about the impact of the programme – due both to the methods used and to the lack of public interest before changes are applied’.

This is why a consultation is now being carried out with the public with a view to switching some of the lights back to part-night lighting in Chichester.

If the public opinion indicates a number of streets should be converted to part-night lighting, works are expected to be carried out before this winter.

West Sussex has confirmed the process of converting is a ‘straightforward task’ and would not involve columns being removed, nor pavements being dug up.

Have your say

THE street light situation in Chichester is set to be clarified in September, when Chichester City Council reports the findings of its public consultation to West Sussex County Council.

Currently, a list of the city’s roads has been published showing which ones would remain on all night and which would be switched off.

However, this list is not finalised and residents can get in touch with their views about certain streets, which could see

the list subject to change.

To contact Chichester City Council, email or write to The Town Clerk, The

Council House, North Street, Chichester, PO19 1LQ.

The city council said it would be helpful for people getting in touch to state the road in which they lived.

All comments need to be received by Monday, September 1, as the issue will be discussed at the city council meeting on Wednesday, September 10, at 6pm.

The city council will then submit its findings to West Sussex County Council by September 18.

For more information call 01243 788502.

To see the list of streets and how they are affected, see this week’s Observer (August 7), or visit