street lighting (pic by Cokabug)

A Willaston councillor is calling for street lights along a busy route in the Nantwich village to be switched back on.

Newcastle Road falls under the new Cheshire East Council initiative to switch off or reduce street lighting to cut costs.

Nantwichnews told a week ago how Cheshire East’s plan to switch off some lights, and dim others, was aimed at cutting costs, carbon emissions, and light pollution.

Lights on a section of Newcastle Road between Cheerbrook roundabout and Elwood Way were switched off as part of the plan.

But Willaston and Rope ward Cllr Brian Silvester claims more columns on the other section of Newcastle Road were off which were not highlighted on the original plan.

He is now calling for a proper consultation.

He said: “It is simply unacceptable to switch off street lights on a major route into the village without any consultation whatsoever with residents of Willaston and the parish council.

“Before some street lights were switched off in Wilmslow, proper consultation took place. But Willaston residents are not given the same consideration and are being treated as second class citizens.

“Blacked out streets are less safe and more vulnerable to crime and residents have a right to express views about this before a decision is implemented.”

Cllr Rod Menlove, Cabinet member in charge of the environment, said the scheme could save the authority £1.6million a year.

“Only 950 lights out of 38,000 – just three per cent – are being considered for switch off,” he said.

“Another 17,700 will be considered for part-night lighting – switched off between midnight and 5.30am only. There will be other money-saving and energy-saving initiatives, such as dimming lights and using low-energy bulbs.

“The A51, including the Newcastle Road area, is included in the switch-off programme and town and parish councils across Cheshire East have been informed of the new approach to street lighting changes.

“We have also undertaken a road safety review in advance of each switch-off and the Police and Fire Service were consulted.

“We are still in the process of assessing some minor routes and residential areas. Before any changes are implemented there will be discussions with ward members and their relevant town and parish councils, as was the case in Wilmslow.

“Street lights in town centres and high crime areas will not be switched off – they will simply be replaced with lower energy bulbs to save costs.”

Lights on Colleys Lane, Willaston, were also out recently, but Cheshire East said this was a technical fault and the road is not part of the light reduction scheme.


  1. I’m not convinced that the Council has considered the legal situation regarding this scheme, particularly with regard to speed limits. “Speed Limit Orders” on lighted streets (known as Restricted Roads) are made under Section 81 of the “Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984”. “Speed Limit Orders” on roads other than Restricted Roads are made under Section 84 of that Act. Therefore, if street lights are to be switched off then those streets are no longer Restricted Roads. So new Traffic Regulation Orders should be made for speed limits on those streets in accordance with the “Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure)(England and Wales) Regulations 1996”. These regulations require formal consultations with Police, Fire and Ambulance Services as well as Freight Transport and Public Transport Services etc. Even the public and cycling groups could have their say, and why not!

  2. I think this is an ill-considered scheme. We have not been told what the savings will be but it is reasonable to assume that a single serious road accident will more than wipe out the savings – but, of course, NHS, police and insurance companies will pay for that, not CEC -just a transfer of responsibilty and cost to others. Councillor Menlove’s “absolutely no evidence” argument has little value. “No evidence” usually means nobody has bothered to look. So the statement might be true but is meaningless.

    • I agree with brangane, I did a quick calculation of the carbon saved just for the Crewe to nantwich route. If ten cyclists switch to cars, as I would, it would wipe out the carbon reduction. Of course, as you say, the environmental cost, as the financial, is just transferred to others.

  3. Graham Shaw says:

    Well done to residents and councillors again standing up to Cheshire East Council.

    As a regular user of the A51, I was surprised to find the street lights switched off after Reaseheath College and on many stretches towards Tarporley. This is clearly not a route between sparsely populated villages, but a main artery between major towns in the borough. The lack of street lighting makes the evening rush hour treacherous.

  4. Cllr Rod Menlove, Cabinet Member said

    “There is absolutely no evidence that switching off street lights on stretches of roads has a detrimental effect on road safety and, in fact, has improved road safety in many areas.”

    However, The Royal Society for the Prevention of accidents (ROSPA) say that the presence of lighting not only reduces the risk of traffic accidents, but also their severity. Surveys have shown that the public are in favour of street lighting as a way of improving road safety and that, if anything, it needs to be improved in some areas.

    There are economic and environmental reasons why some organisations may wish to reduce the amount of lighting. However there are safety reasons why lighting needs to be available.
    An unconsidered removal or reduction in quality could actually increase accidents and their severity.

    Therefore, when considering removal or dimming of lights, location based traffic and accident evidence should be assessed. Accident rates should be monitored to ensure that sacrificing the quality of lighting does not unduly increase the risk. Increases in risk may ultimately lead to lives being lost.

    • All we need to consider is why a stretch of road had lights installed in the first place – if they weren’t needed then why were they put there?
      The very fact a road has lights implies they are integral to the safe use of the road and the only reason to switch them off is penny pinching not safety related.

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