A Bradley Stoke Town Councillor has criticised the town’s newly-introduced part-night street lighting scheme by claiming it violates residents’ human rights.
Speaking at last week’s Safer and Stronger Communities meeting, Cllr Ed Rose said he supported calls by some residents for the lights to be turned back on because they have a right to “liberty and security” (Article 5 of the UK Human Rights Act) and “protection from discrimination” (Article 14).
The comments put Cllr Rose at odds with other members of the Town Council, including Mayor Ben Walker, who unanimously consented to the introduction of the scheme in January.
Cllr Rose, who was not a member of the Town Council at the time of the decision, says he was alerted to residents’ concerns at a Councillor surgery earlier this month.
A number of residents from Snowberry Close are understood to have attended the surgery and demanded that the lights be turned back on, saying that parts of their street are particularly dark due to the presence of tall trees which block out any ambient light.
Cllr Rose said he took the complaints on board and later conducted his own survey of opinions in Hawkins Crescent, Crystal Way and Snowberry Close, concluding that “people are worried and fear for their liberty and safety”.
One resident of Snowberry Close who attended the meeting recounted almost hitting a pedestrian crossing the road when driving home in the early hours when the street lights were out, adding: “I pay my rates, I should have my utilities”. The same resident complained of being “unable to see a thing” when looking out from his house after hearing a suspicious noise in the middle of the night.
Town Clerk Sharon Petela seemed to reverse a previously-stated policy by saying the Town Council was “collating concerns received”, adding that “emails aren’t being ignored”.
Regular readers will recall that in May residents were told to contact South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Streetcare department with their concerns and only contact the Town Council with questions about the public consultation that it had conducted on the scheme at the end of last year.
The Clerk confirmed that a couple of emails had been received from residents of Snowberry Close and added that “a couple of streets [elsewhere] have already been switched back on, as an emergency case”. However, subsequent enquiries by The Journal have revealed that just one street light, in Palmers Leaze, has been reverted to all-night operation.
Ms Petela informed the meeting that a meeting between the Town Council and SGC was planned for mid-August, when “streets will be reviewed”.
Following the meeting, The Journal offered Cllr Rose an opportunity to expand upon his references to human rights legislation but he would only say:
“We the Council of BSTC are here to look after our residents and do what we can to make life for all better.”
“The aspect of street lighting was discussed and [the] onus is upon Gloucestershire County Council (sic) to make a reply back to our inquiry.”
Asked how residents should register any concerns prior to the mid-August review meeting, Ms Petela told The Journal:
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