Student pressure mounts against City Council who want to turn streetlights off

The city council has controversially proposed shutting off street lights in one of the most student-heavy parts of the city

While there are several public pathways being targeted for the night time black-out, one of the main areas being targeted is the densely student-populated area of Garret Hostel Lane, Grange Road and Trinity Lane.

The plans, designed to save around £270,000 for the council, are a surprise following the student-led campaign last year to install permanent lights on Parker’s Piece.

In a victory led by the former CUSU Women’s Officer Susy Langsdale, lights were installed after a woman was raped crossing the park at night.

Successful student petitioning managed to get Parker’s Piece lit up last year

Several councillors have spoken against the plan, with Councillor Bick pointing out that it was “only a year ago that we had incidents, attacks and assaults on Jesus Green when our lights weren’t working”.

Many students have expressed concern over the plans to turn the lights off between midnight and 6am.

A student petition has already sprung up, with over 400 signatories. The petition said academic achievement would be ruined by fear of crime. “Considering that Garret Hostel Lane, Grange Road  and Trinity Lane are very frequently used by students during the critical time window, it seems inconsiderate to turn these streetlights off.

“University is an opportunity to excel and educate, but if the way back to your accommodation, or to go to the library brings both fear and a greater risk of attack, student’s quality of life reduces and inevitably their grades are compromised”.

Soon to be shrouded in darkness?

One student, Alice Rogers, a second year medic at Peterhouse, said “it makes the city just that little bit less safe”.

A poll for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust revealed that 83% of women felt unsafe in unlit areas, and the lane’s frequent use as a through-route raises concerns about a rise in crime and attacks.

Trinity JCR Women’s Officer, Beth Cloughton, commented that “lighting is a necessary part of somebody feeling safe and actually being safe, and this area is a densely populated part of Cambridge for students and staff of the university, and so cutting the light supply here is a questionable act on the part of the council”.

She further pointed out out that it would be ludicrous to not expect more crime “in a completely unlit, partly wooded area near a main road”.

With student opposition mounting, pressure is growing on the council to not leave Cambridge students completely in the dark.

You can sign the petition to “keep the lights on” by clicking here.