Selwyn bursar takes action on streetlight switch-off

Elsa Maishman 20 November 2015

Nick Downer, bursar of Selwyn College, has sent an email expressing his opposition to the county council’s decision to switch off streetlights in many areas of the city between midnight and 6am from 1 April 2016. 

The email, sent to all students, staff and fellows of Selwyn, states that the county council’s plan is, in the bursar’s view,: ‘‘extremely unhelpful for road safety and personal security.’’ 

He continued: ‘‘You might wish to join me in registering disapproval by responding to the consultation at the link detailed below. The more responses received, the more likely it is that the county council will listen.”

The ‘‘consultation’’ mentioned has been launched by the county council. Residents can contact the council, or fill in an online survey giving their views on the proposed switch-off.

Downer then explained that he had reported the county council’s plans to the last meeting of the Bursar’s Committee.  He said: ‘‘on behalf of the BEPSC I would urge each College to respond to the consultation. In particular, you will know the risks involved in the areas immediately around your properties, so could highlight specific problems with the proposal.’’ 

The county council has said that due to government cuts, it must save £100 million over the next five years, £272,000 of which will come from the streetlight switch-off. A spokesperson previously told The Cambridge Student that: ‘‘if we do not find further ways to save money we will have to make deeper cuts from services such as frontline social care looking after the most vulnerable in our society.’’

The proposals, which would see lights switched off on roads including Chesterton Lane, Grange Road, Trinity Lane, Sidgwick Avenue and Free School Lane.

Several JCR presidents have opposed the plans, claiming that students’ safety will be compromised. 

A petition started by Beth Cloughton, Trinity College women’s officer, asks the council to keep the lights on, claiming that ‘‘the risk of danger will be increased drastically if this ‘money-saving’ scheme actualises, creating what could and has been preventable crime, fear, and damage to a person’s life.’’ The petition has so far gained 2,500 signatories. 

This comes after CUSU council approved a motion last Monday for CUSU to pressure the University for student representation on the bursars’ committee – one of three principal inter-collegiate committees.