Croydon Council has replaced ten Victorian-style streetlights with six new energy-efficient luminaries under a £79 million contract with Skanska.
The workmen dialled emergency services after feeling threatened by residents demanding information about the streetlight upgrade programme.
Around 20 people, including some parents carrying babies, gathered in Mowbray Road in Crystal Palace to stop the installation of the new columns.
Residents wanted to retain the old streetlights, which they felt were in keeping with the character of the street. They also claimed that one of the lampposts at the end of the street fell within a conservation area – something the council disputes.
Long-term resident Mark Richardson, 61, told Lux that the locals had requested more traditional fittings to be installed on top of the existing columns. He said: ‘We’re fairly peed off because the council were asked but never discussed anything. It’s just a communication issue. Everybody agrees with energy-efficient lights but let’s upgrade the Victorian lights with energy-efficient luminaires.’
‘The whole street used to be in a conservation area but the boundaries are changing. The council said that they had a consultation but they could have discussed it better. They left us in the dark,’ he said.
Richardson added: ‘I watched the video on the Lux YouTube channel about the LED lights in the Paris Metro. I bet the French wouldn’t rip put the original features and they’d be careful to retain the Art Deco architecture.’
A spokesperson from Croydon Council told Lux that two major consultation exercises were carried out by Croydon and Lewisham councils between 2007 and 2012 to help develop the streetlighting plan, and added: ‘Both councils consulted widely at the start of the project and careful thought was given to which types of columns might be installed in different areas.’
The project is part of a 25-year contract to replace 38,000 ageing lamp columns with safer energy- efficient streetlights in the boroughs of Croydon and Lewisham.