Lighting call after schoolgirl attack

NEAABE111102a1, Cllr Sarah Brown at Maws Lane Kimberley calling for street lights to be kept on.
NEAABE111102a1, Cllr Sarah Brown at Maws Lane Kimberley calling for street lights to be kept on.

COUNCILLORS are calling for a review of plans to turn off Kimberley’s street lights after a 12-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted late at night.

Kimberley town councillor Sarah Brown wants Nottinghamshire County Council to reconsider its plans to leave the street in darkness after a schoolgirl claimed she was attacked in Maws Lane last Wednesday night.

Speaking at a Kimberley Town Council meeting on Thursday night, Cllr Brown said she had been approached by several people since the attack, all predominantly concerned about the council plans to turn the street lights off in residential areas.

“People are very concerned about the attack, particularly in regard to the county council turning the lights off late at night,” she said.

“There are some very dark and scary areas. Sometimes I feel scared walking through Kimberley and I think we need some assurances given that we are not going to have the lights turned off on us. It really concerns me,” she added.

But Cllr Ken Rigby, who represents the town on the county council, said there was no way there would be a complete U-turn on the decision. However, he said he was compiling a list of particularly dark spots where he would ask the council to consider leaving the lights on.

He said he would now add Maws Lane to his list.

“I can tell you we will definitely not receive a blanket decision to leave all the lights on in Kimberley,” he said.

“I am aware of the hotspots in the town from surveys I have carried out and it’s not too late to add to the list.

“People have already requested some very dark areas where there are alleyways in Kimberley and I will present the list to the highways authority and ask for the lights in these areas to stay on.”

Cllr Rigby said there was no ‘statutory duty’ to provide street lighting and added that in other towns across the country where street lights have been switched off, crime had not increased.

Nottinghamshire County Council is switching lights off across the county to save money in its budget.

Plans include switching lights off in residential areas between midnight and 5.30am, removing the lights completely on rural country roads, and dimming them on major routes.

A petition was launched in the area when the council first announced the plans last year. Lights in Kimberley will be switched off in early 2013.