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The Warren, Gravesend gran takes lights fight to the top

A grandmother leading the fight to have street lights switched back on has taken her campaign to the top.

Fed up with responses from Kent County Council over its decision to implement the Safe and Sensible lighting initiative, Tina Brooker has written to David Cameron, as well as Ed Miliband and UKIP’s Nigel Farage.

The 51-year-old has also contacted Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley about her concerns and is due to meet Gravesham MP Adam Holloway at her home in The Warren, Gravesend, tomorrow (Friday).

The petition was started by Tina Brooker. Picture: Steve Crispe

The legal secretary has yet to hear back from any of the party leaders or Mr Pughsley, but has warned she will not be ignored.

She said: “The more I have got into this, the angrier I have got. It started with just my street but now I want to help everyone who wants their street lights back on.

“The responses I get from KCC are the same. They are being high-handed and arrogant and have put us under the threat of increased crime and accidents.”

KCC introduced the initiative in April with about 70,000 lights switched off between midnight and 6.30am.

Park Road in Swanscombe was one of the roads where street lights were switched off in error by KCC

In response to concerns from residents in Gravesham and Dartford, the Messenger has called for a U-turn with the Let There Be Light campaign, as the saving represents roughly 0.05% of the council’s budget.

Since starting her campaign, which includes an online petition on Gravesham Borough Council’s website, Miss Brooker has researched the scheme and its implications with regards to crime and safety.

Residents in Swanley have raised their concerns with Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon, while people in Swanscombe saw streets plunged into darkness when lights were switched off by mistake.

On its website, KCC states it continues to work with police and that decisions will be reviewed and lights possibly turned back on if there is a negative effect on crime levels or road safety that can be attributed to the absence of street lighting.

The councillor responsible for switching off street lights across the county still enjoys light throughout the night.

Streetlights outside Cllr Bryan Sweetland’s house in Downs Road, Istead Rise, are not affected by the plans.

Cllr Sweetland said he would be happy to have lights in his road switched off, as it would save the council money and cut emissions.

He said: “I thought they would have been off by now.”

He said the decision to switch off the lights was not taken lightly by the council and KCC had made it clear that safety was of “paramount importance”.

He said: “It’s clear a few residents feel it’s neither safe nor sensible.

“In these cases, if it’s clear safety is a real issue, I think Kent Highways should review the situation again.”

Cllr John Burden and Cllr David Turner also live along Downs Road.

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