25th November 2011

A survey of residents’ views in the villages of Ockbrook and Borrowash on Derbyshire County Council’s proposals to switch off street lighting in designated areas

Commissioned and undertaken by:
The Ockbrook and Borrowash Branch Labour Party

Report Author: Philip E Whitt

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 3
Report Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 3
Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 4
Village Responses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 5
Postal Codes/Streets . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 5
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . Page 5

The Parish of Ockbrook and Borrowash lies to the west of the City of Derby in the Borough of Erewash and the Constituency of Mid Derbyshire. The Parish consists of two villages; Ockbrook and Borrowash with an adult population of around 5600. The larger of the two villages is Borrowash with around 4200 residents representing (74.5%) of the total adult population. The Parish is split into two County Divisions; Borrowash combining with Draycott and Breaston villages to form the Breaston Division and Ockbrook which is incorporated into the Sandiacre County Division. Combined, Ockbrook and Borrowash has an electorate of around half of one Derbyshire County Division.

Report Overview
Following reports that Derbyshire County Council were considering  turning off street lights between midnight and 5.30 am without  conducting a  prior consultation  with members of the public, the Ockbrook and Borrowash Branch Labour Party launched a  Street Lighting Survey.   The survey, named “The Ockbrook and Borrowash Street Lighting Consultation,” was conducted on Saturday 24th September, at the Borrowash Co-op, the venue most commonly used by residents.
This survey (see form details on page 19) consisted of a consultation form which posed three crucial questions: a) Should Derbyshire County Council consult you about turning off your street lights?, b) Should the lights be turned off in your area/street? and c) Do you consider it to be unsafe for Derbyshire County Council to turn off your street lights?
The results of this survey were significant with 100% of those surveyed stating that they should be consulted by Derbyshire County Council on the matter of their street lighting. This was in direct contrast to the Council’s proposed method of consultation with bodies like parish councils and small interest groups that would not be fully representative of the entire population.
The results of this initial survey indicated that there was a clear call for residents of Ockbrook and Borrowash to be consulted. The Branch therefore agreed to consult residents about this serious matter on a door to door basis throughout the Parish.
Around this time, the Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Transport and Highways announced a policy switch. The County Council   publicised the new decision that all residents in Derbyshire would now get a chance to have their say as part of a public consultation. Unfortunately this consultation would consist of a two week consultation via their website with paper questionnaires being made available in local libraries and Borough Council Offices.  As both of these methods of consultation would exclude the vast majority of residents in Ockbrook and Borrowash we continued with our plans for a door – to – door consultation. The consultation form was amended to take into account the fact that Derbyshire CC were now conducting a limited public consultation (see consultation form page 20). Our own consultation form now contained just two questions: a) Should the lights be turned off in your area/street? and b) Do you consider it to be unsafe for Derbyshire County Council to turn off your street lights?
3000 consultation forms were delivered to every home in Ockbrook and Borrowash over a four week period during October and November. As we had neither the funding nor facilities to supply free post or stamped addressed envelopes, the consultation  was entirely reliant upon residents returning their form to one of three addresses either by hand or by post (at their own expense). The response was quite unprecedented, especially in the light of the fact that the County Council’s recent survey on Road Gritting only received approximately 900 responses from the whole of Derbyshire and our Ockbrook and Borrowash Street Lighting Consultation (circulated to around the equivalent of half a County Division), received 311 replies from houses (representing a minimum of around 600 residents).

To the initial questionnaire, 100% of those surveyed stated that they expected to be consulted by Derbyshire County Council on “turning off their street lighting”.
Of the 3000 consultation forms delivered, 10.37% were returned, representing a total of 311 survey forms. Of these forms 91.32% (284) stated that Derbyshire CC should not turn off the lights in their street/area. Only 8.68% (27) thought it was a good idea for lights to be switched off in their area/street.
To the question, “Is turning off the lights unsafe”, 87.78% (273) said that it was unsafe to turn out the lights, whilst 10.93% (34) thought that it was safe. The answers to the question of whether it was safe to turn off the lights surprisingly showed less support than expected, bearing in mind the higher support for not turning off the street lights. But the total of residents who thought it was unsafe was still overwhelmingly high.

Village Responses
If the two villages are considered on an individual basis (see pages 5 & 6) the results are fairly similar, with Borrowash showing 90.87% stating that the lights should not be turned off and Ockbrook residents recording 93.02%. To the question “Is turning off the lights unsafe?” Borrowash showed 87.07% and 90.70% for Ockbrook.  The response rate for Borrowash was higher than that for Ockbrook: 12.7% for Borrowash compared with 6.0% for Ockbrook. This is unsurprising because the three return addresses were based in Borrowash and Ockbrook residents would have had to travel an extra mile to deliver their return form without incurring the cost of postage.  Even so, the return rate for Ockbrook was remarkably high for a survey of this type.

Consultation Postal Code
We looked at the response by ‘Post Code and Streets’ and our findings show that residents living in most areas of the Parish returned survey forms (see page 9 to 16).

The consultation survey form contained no specific space for comments. We did not request or expect to receive, comments, but as some residents expressed their opinions, we have printed a selection of representative contributions.

The results of this consultation show that the residents of Ockbrook and Borrowash are unequivocally clear in the view that the street lights must not be turned off by Derbyshire County Council. Their response is an emphatic NO!! to turning off the lights and making any alteration to the present lighting coverage.

The figures contained in this document are correct at the time of printing. However,  we have promised the residents of Ockbrook and Borrowash “that we will pass all their consultation forms onto  Derbyshire County Council”, and  any further forms received will automatically be forwarded as pledged.
The Ockbrook and Borrowash Labour Party would like to thank all residents who participated in this survey.

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