The upgrade of Victorian style streetlights to energy efficient lamps in South London has been interrupted by residents hugging lamp posts to prevent workmen carrying out the replacements. Around 20 residents gathered in Mowbray Road in Crystal Palace including some parents carrying babies. Workmen eventually called the emergency services after feeling threatened when residents insisted to know more details about the lighting project.
Local citizens were angered by the choice of replacement lamps which they felt were not in keeping with the character of the street. They also claimed a lamp post at the far end of the street fell within a conservation area and should be left untouched. An assertion the local council disputes.
Long term resident, Mark Richardson said: ‘we’re fairly peed off because the council were asked but never discussed anything. It’s just a communication issue. Everybody agrees with energy-efficient lights but let’s upgrade the Victorian lights with energy-efficient luminaires. The whole street used to be in a conservation area but the boundaries are changing. The council said that they had a consultation but they could have discussed it better. They left us in the dark.’
In response, Croydon Council have confirmed that between 2007 and 2012 two major consultation projects were undertaken by Croydon and Lewisham Councils to develop the lighting plan. They argue: ‘both councils consulted widely at the start of the project and careful thought was given to which types of columns might be installed in different areas.’
The lighting upgrade program is part of a 25 year contract with Skanska to replace 38,000 aged lamp columns with safer energy efficient streetlights in the boroughs of Croydon and Lewisham.