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Whitfield Hill streetlights switch-off: Head fears for pupils

By Dover Express  |  Posted: September 20, 2013

BLACKOUT: Streetlights on Whitfield Hill have been completely turned off for a year

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A HEAD teacher has urged the council to reverse its decision to switch street lights off along Whitfield Hill.

The Express recently reported that lights would be switched off between midnight and 5am each night, but it has since emerged they will be switched off completely for the next year.

It will leave a well-used school run in darkness over the winter months, according to the principal of Dover’s Christchurch Academy.

Sam Williamson said: “From our perspective this is a major safety concern particularly during the winter months.

“Anyone living in River or Whitfield might use that road and we know a lot of our kids walk that way.

“I urge Kent County Council to reconsider their decision.”

A Whitfield mum drove down the road last week and said it was “extremely dangerous”.

“Hopefully they'll turn the lights back on,” said Samy Clapson.

“That hill claimed a life of someone I know as well as one of my family members working a night shift at Tesco having to walk it at night time.

“It’s a horror story waiting to happen.”

Another Whitfield resident, Lita Miller, said: “The stretch of road can be very busy, especially whenever the A2 is closed for one reason or another.

“With major repairs under way on Jubilee Way, and traffic diverted along Whitfield Hill, the timing appears particularly bad.”

Cllr David Hannent accused the authorities of “not thinking clearly” about the issue. He added: “Everyone knows how dangerous Whitfield Hill is.”

But Kent County Council insisted the decision was taken following lengthy consultations with the police.

A spokesman said: “These proposals will save Kent taxpayers around £1 million a year.

“The initiatives that have already been used have reduced energy charges by £130,000 annually.

“There are many sites across the county which have street lights, yet if these sites were being designed today they would not have street lighting.

“The identified sites, including Whitfield Hill, have been selected after consideration of a number of factors, including accident rates, safety reviews, consultation with the police and elected members.”

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