Street lights look set to stay off

STREET lights on part of Baslow Road on the edge of Totley look like being switched off permanently after a 12-month experiment prompted by complaints about the “urbanisation” of the countryside.

Neither has the increase in the speed limit from 30mph to 40mph resulted in accidents or objections.

Councillors are being recommended today (Thursday) to make the situation permanent, with the street lights eventually being relocated in the city.

The council installed the lights to improve road safety between the built-up area and a bus turning area at Gillfield Wood.

But residents and environmental groups said they weren’t necessary and caused light pollution in the countryside. A 518-name petition was submitted.

Councillors authorised a 12-month switch-off and a higher speed limit once new road safety signs had been installed.

“Overall, the situation appears to be stable and there is no reason why the arrangements should not be made permanent,” says a report by highways officers, after consulting Totley Residents Association, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the First bus group and an organisation called Space (Sheffield and Peak Against City Encroachment).

Sally Goldsmith, who chairs SPACE, said that the lights “represented ugly urban creep at the edge of the city near where it meets the Peak National Park, completely altering the character of this rural road”.

The 30mph limit was “making the road more dangerous, with a lot of tailgating, speeding well over 30mph and unsafe overtaking”, she added.

It would cost £18,000 to remove the street lights – and there is nothing in the highways budget to pay for it. The council hopes the lights can be relocated as part of the £2bn highways private finance initiative.