Fears housing estate will become a muggers' paradise as street lights are switched off (From Southend Standard)
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Fears housing estate will become a muggers' paradise as street lights are switched off
4:10pm Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Echo News
BASILDON’S housing estates could become “a paradise for muggers” when they are plunged into darkness later this month, it is feared.
Essex County Council introduces its controversial street light switch off between midnight and 5am from Monday, November 18, when about 70 per cent of lights will go out in the borough.
Basildon councillors fear the cost-saving scheme could see trouble return to the notorious estates, where years of campaigning has kept anti-social behaviour at bay.
The turn-off is happening on the Five Links estate, Laindon, once known as Alcatraz; Craylands, where youths once took to the rooftops to protest over hardline policing, and Rydene, Vange, which houses former young offenders and has been plagued by yobs.
Other big estates affected include Chalvedon in Pitsea and the Vange 3/4 estate.
Borough councillors claim their objections to plunging these areas into blackness overnight have fallen on deaf ears at County Hall.
John Dornan, Basildon councillor responsible for the environment, said: “It looks like 95 per cent of our requests for lights to stay on have been ignored.
“Five Links will be a mugger’s charter. It looks like a disaster zone.
“I’m not trying to scaremonger – that’s just how it is.
County Hall has put money before the safety of the people it is elected to represent.”
Mr Dornan repeated a threat to seek a judicial review of the consultation process.
He claims his Tory county council colleagues did not even acknowledge his consultation response.
Figures show the Basildon switch-off will save taxpayers £220,000 a year, but councillors claim the saving is not enough to accept a scheme they say will increase public fear.
The majority of the borough’s main roundabouts will also still be illuminated.
The maps, which can be viewed by clicking here, have no street names on them. The Echo requested street names, but was told they wouldn’t be available until later this week.
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