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Concerned Littlemoor residents see campaign success with streetlight switch on
STREETLIGHTS in Littlemoor have been switched back on after a campaign by concerned residents.
A request to turn the lights back on in certain streets was sent by Dorset Police to Dorset County Council.
It comes after a spate of arson and vandalism in the area.
Members of the Littlemoor Community launched a petition to get the lights back on last June, which over 300 people signed.
It came after Littlemoor was plunged into darkness when streetlights were switched off across the county between midnight and 5.30am. Dorset county councillor Peter Finney, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “We have listened to the concerns of the Dorset Police and, recognising the spate of recent arson attacks that have occurred in Littlemoor, it has been decided to return the lighting to all night operation in that area.
“It has always been our policy to keep areas with particular crime issues fully lit.”
The cost-cutting measures to turn off streetlights across Dorset aimed to save £55m across three years.
Jan Hinton, chairman of the Littlemoor Synergy Housing panel, said: “It is fantastic to see that the lights are back on because people were frightened.
“It is a shame that it took a spate of anti-social behaviour to get them switched on.”
Inspector Les Fry stressed that there is no correlation between increasing crime levels and the lack of lighting in Littlemoor.
He said: “We are listening and working with people of Littlemoor and their main concerns were that the lights had been turned off.
He added: “What I want to make clear is that lights will only get turned back on in areas where there is a requirement.
“Many other areas in Dorset would like their lights back on but the county council do need to save money.
“There is no link between the lights being turned off and an increase in crime, for one thing criminals need to see what they are doing.”
Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillor Geoff Petherick said: “The lights have been turned on because of the residents feeling frightened and unsafe without them.
“It is not linked to an increase in crime in the area but we will continue to monitor crime levels.”
He praised the effort of the police in a recent crackdown on crime in Littlemoor and urged residents to continue to help them officers with enquiries.
DORSET County Council chose to reduce the budget for street lighting in the county by 10 per cent.
Thousands of streetlights have been turned off after midnight in residential areas across Dorset.
It was first trialled in rural villages before it was decided in February 2011 to roll it out to residential streets. The cuts come after central government funding was reduced.
Initially, Dorset County Council refused to turn streetlights back on in Littlemoor.
In Littlemoor, Louviers Road, Beverley Road and Littlemoor Road were the only access routes where street lights remained on.