Are modern streetlights ugly?

Modern streetlights. They save a lot of energy. They will probably last a long time. They require little maintenance. They are easy to control.

So what. They are also 'monstrosities' bellows one politician, who along with a mob of villagers near the picturesque Yorkshire Dales is furious that the City of Bradford has started to yank out historic pre-Second World War lamps from a conservation area of Addingham, replacing them with galvanised steel columns.

'They brought these modern monstrosities into a conservation area without any consultation with ward councillors or Addingham Parish Council,' said Councillor Adrian Naylor from the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, which covers the village of Addingham. Defending the villagers against his own council, he noted in the Ilkley Gazette. 'These historic columns are valuable and I have asked them to stop the process and return the columns already removed.'

But the return of the old columns would not necessarily condemn Addingham to a lighting past. Rather, engineers could fit them with modern luminaires such as LEDs.

'They could easily be refurbished and a new head put on them,' said Keith Appleyard from Addingham Planning Scrutiny Group. 'They have been refurbished in the past – a little care now will see them last another 75 years at least.'

Like Councillor Naylor, Appleyard noted that Bradford failed to consult Addingham Parish Council prior to the unwanted village makeover.

'A number of traditional lamp standards have been removed from within the Conservation Area in Addingham, to the detriment of the character of the village,' he wrote in an email to Bradford.

'We are unaware of any planning application or process, which might have authorised the changes. It is our view these lampposts represent an important element within the Conservation Area, and the original lampposts should be restored, refurbished and reinstalled in historic positions.

'We request you consult your colleagues in planning control, on our behalf, to establish the planning status of the current and historic work, and that you advise us of your findings accordingly.'

The uprising demonstrates once again that nothing can rally the public like a streetligthing donnybrook. The Automobile Association has identified it as a key issue that can make or break a politician's career. Campaigners have complained that modern LED lighting emits unhealthy blue light, and that it leaves dark spots. Residents around the country have assailed energy-saving lights-out moves as unsafe. Others, besides those in Addingham, have rallied to save their precious heritage lamps.

To once again steal from the fiery colonial American revolutionary orator Patrick Henry, give me streetlights, or give me death. Especially beautiful streetlights, as they might say in Addingham.

Photo is from leisuretime70 via Shutterstock

Comments 4

It is possible to restore the traditional lamposts and lanterns by retrofitting LEDs. The choice of LEDs is important as there is a huge variety in the market and people are ready to push anything in market. With advanced softwares we can now simulate the lighting effect more accurately and avoid black spots, spill and upward light as well.

Yes, it would be interesting to see how many of the village residents voted for the Conservatives and therefore for these kind of insensitive cuts. Personally, I believe each village should have a full time 'handyman' assisted by a team of volunteers (community service) to go round an give the old street furniture an annual lick of paint and any necessary repairs. I would also guess that the old columns went toff to a scrap yard. They should have gone to into storage. A national database of historic designs / suppliers could also be beneficial for finding spare parts, perhaps linked in with all of the storage facilities.

The choice of the photograph used to illustrate this article is a little unfortunate, as it shows a Z8534 lantern manufactured by GEC (Streetlighting) Ltd. that was first in production in the 1960s or possibly earlier. It had certainly been around for many years before I started my career at GEC in 1976.

Yes. But please remember you pay for what you get and our Conservative government are making savings on all public sector services.

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