Safety concerns around street lighting in the Wantage area has led councillors and residents to call for enhancements and improved provision. 

The areas primarily impacted are the A417 Challow Road, which has eight streetlights not in use, Childrey Way, Sarajac Avenue and Letcombe Hill, which have been identified as having poor lighting and West Challow, Sparsholt and Kingston Lisle – the latter three having no street lighting at all.

Ridgeway ward district councillor Dr Paul Barrow and other residents have reported these outages and their concerns to Oxfordshire County Council via FixMyStreet.

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Dr Barrow said: “We were unsure if the developers had responsibility for the outage along the A417 opposite the Crest Nicholson site but it’s on the highway for sure. The lights have not been functional since 2021, we think when they were installed.

“This is a serious safety issue for residents walking at night. It’s so dark for people in some of these areas they can’t even see where they’re going. It’s also an issue of risk management that needs to be addressed urgently.

“We’re pushing to get adequate street lighting. East Challow parish council has raised this as an item on the agenda – it may be that the parish council has to pay for them.”

Oxford Mail: A picture taken at night of the view on the main road

Dr Barrow’s report of Childrey Way’s poor lighting, logged via FixMyStreet, read: “The path is terribly dark at night time on this stretch and would benefit tremendously from an additional lighting. 

“The path is becoming more and more treacherous to walk at night as it's pitch black, very uneven due to roots lifting the tarmac, pot holes and edges crumbling. Will it take someone breaking a leg before any action on the poor lighting of this path will be taken?”

Dr Barrow also shared an annotated map of areas without streetlighting or with poor coverage via his councillor Facebook page, stating: “It’s been on FixMyStreet more than once but Oxfordshire County Council say they don’t have funds to install additional lighting, and please ask the parish council or see whether there is a recognised safety issue in which case ask Thames Valley Police.

“Surely better to install a light and prevent a safety issue happening.”

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: “The eight columns along the A417 are new columns which are installed as part of the Crest Nicholson Fullers site. These will be operational as soon as the work is completed by the developer.

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“There are no plans for additional street lighting in Childrey Way, Sarajac Avenue or Letcombe Hill. There is already existing street lighting in these areas.”

Regarding insufficient lighting for the footpaths, poor footpath surface and overhanging trees in Childrey Way, the spokesperson added: “This footpath is a public right of way rather than public highway so we would not be able to provide any additional lighting.

“New street lighting will be approved on a site-by-site assessment as to whether it is essential, justified and deemed to be necessary on grounds of public safety.”