AN ANDOVER councillor has renewed her calls for enhanced night time street lights in the town following an announcement by Boris Johnson of £25 million to make streets safer.

In March, Cllr Iris Andersen (TVBC, Conservative, Andover St Mary’s) called on Hampshire County Council to reverse its decision to shut off street lights in the county between 1am and 4am, following the tragic murder of Sarah Everard.

Speaking to the Advertiser at the time, she said: “I beg Hampshire County Council to find a way, for the safety of women that might get attacked , raped, not knowing who is behind you walking home in the dark.”

In response, Cllr ROb Humby, HCC member for economy, transport and environment, said: “I would like to reassure residents that we work closely with the Police and actively review street lighting arrangements in areas where they express concern.”

However, with the street light schedule unchanged, and news that the government is pledging an additional £25 million for streetlighting and CCTV, Iris Andersen has suggested that the county council considers lights which automatically turn on and off, with motion sensors which are triggered by pedestrians.

“We put the plea out in March but, since what happened in March, things haven’t gotten any better. How do we know what the future is going to be like?” she said.

“People have shared stories about how they were walking along and it just suddenly went dark.

“The money that is going to be given is going to be for everybody across the country to do something, so I know we won’t be able to do it everywhere and we have to spend it wisely, and look at the areas that need it.”

When asked where in Andover she would like to see prioritised, Cllr Andersen added: “That is a question where it needs to be people putting forward how they feel about where they live, and then that could be looked into. A public consultation.

“When I heard [Boris Johnson’s announcement] I thought, yes, you are recognising what is going on.”

She added: “I think lighting is important. People work at night, we aren’t all asleep.”

Meanwhile, other Andover residents have joined calls for the lights to be reviewed.

Mick James, a resident of Batchelors Barn Road, told the Advertiser that he would be afraid to “go further than his front gate” at night due to the lack of light.

The 68-year-old said: “It’s a danger to everybody when you are out at night.

“To be honest with you I wouldn’t be going out at night, you don’t know when you could get clobbered."

“People are going into town on a Friday and Saturday night, having a good time, and then all of a sudden, it goes dark. It’s horrible.”

And, posting in public Facebook group Andover Political Forum, Debby Bennett wrote: “Walking home from a good night and BOOM, the lights go out.

“What about those that work shifts? Or are younger and are leaving the club and walking through estates to get home. Pitch black.”

However, not everyone is on board with a light switch on.

Christopher Ellis added: “There’s so much light pollution. When the lights are off it’s the only time you can appreciate and see the natural sky. I’d prefer they go off earlier.”

Responding to such concerns, Cllr Andersen added: “I understand about nature, and I understand about climate change. I am a recycling fanatic, I do everything I possibly can, but safety has to come first.”

When asked whether a review of the lights would be imminent following the Prime Minister’s announcement, and whether street lights with motion sensors may be considers, Cllr Rob Humby said: “Any funding announcement is of course very welcome, but at present we wait to hear whether any of the £25 million announced by the Prime Minister for street lighting and CCTV will be made available to Hampshire County Council.

“In the meantime, we are engaging with the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner who is currently consulting with local authorities, including the County Council, on the Safer Streets Fund which is funding provided by the Home Office with the aim of reducing crime, and aligned to set requirements and conditions. This is with a view to exploring areas where improvements to lighting and CCTV may provide a benefit to local police and residents.

“As for automatic streetlights, we have considered motion-sensing switches, such as those which operate security lights, but much of the street lighting in use today requires a warm-up period of several minutes to reach full output and is not suitable for this type of switching. There are also concerns about potential inconsistent lighting for drivers and disturbance for residents.”