Skanska’s ‘lightbulb moment’ over Purley street lights

So where would you position a lampost? Right in the middle of the pavement, obviously, if you're Skanska

So where would you position a lamppost? Right in the middle of the pavement, obviously, if you’re Skanska working in Purley

There have been plentiful and regular complaints about the quality of workmanship and service from some of the council’s out-sourced contractors, whether it be the shabby My Croydon App mishap, the trail of rubbish left after the bin men have been, or the poor quality of road repairs.

But the long-term street lighting replacement programme, under a £151 million 25-year contract handed to Skanska, is a regular bug-bear with Croydon residents.

The loss of the old-style light stands, replaced by the supposedly modern and efficient but unappealing street lights, the hideous stumps left for months at a time after de-commissioning, and the glacially slow progress of the project have all been raised repeatedly by Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader.

Outages of street lighting, leaving entire neighbourhoods in pitch darkness through long winter nights, sometimes caused by the replacement works, have been a cause of anxiety.

But there’s surely not been examples of greater stupidity allied with incompetence than what has been happening along the pedestrian walkways of Brancaster Lane in Purley, where Skanska’s workmen have opted to position the new street light posts bang in the centre of the pavement.

“If you walk in a straight line, you will bump into the odd one,” writes Inside Croydon’s loyal reader. “They are now a hazard and inconvenience for mums with their kids in pushchairs, and I’m not sure how anyone in a wheelchair might manage to negotiate them without having to go into the road.

“There seems to be no reason for not following the line of the existing posts, or putting them against the property edge.

“I spoke to Skanska. They said the positioning ‘met regulations’.”

So that’s alright then…

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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6 Responses to Skanska’s ‘lightbulb moment’ over Purley street lights

  1. Clarice says:

    Purley isn’t the only place there’s stupid stuff like this. A whole road in Kenley where they’re flush to the edge, and then suddenly one of them is a third out from the side into the pavement. It was pretty annoying when we got the leaflet through the door saying that Croydon Council and Skanska wanted our feedback and could we please fill in an online survey to give our opinion. It turned out to be nothing more than rating it out of 10 and there was nowhere to actually provide any information.

    Other favourites near me include
    – A full light they put in, then took away two weeks later leaving a massive open hole and 4′ tall pile of rubble blocking the pavement for another two weeks.
    – Digging a trench that ran around 100m up a hill, on a pavement so narrow it’s hard enough for one person to comfortably walk along, took away all the lights leaving it in darkness on a blind summit and blind bend forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. It was like this for three weeks.
    – Put one light almost blocking someone’s driveway.
    – Dumped rubble into parking bays and in the roads causing obstructions.
    – Took away the only public bin in the area.
    – Used people’s private driveways to turn around their huge aggregate trucks.
    – Parked the aggregate trucks half up on the pavements forcing pedestrians to walk in the road.
    – On the blind bend on the hill, because they’ve taken away the old lights from the other side of the road it is now dark on the bend because light can’t bend around corners. This same area is covered in leaves which are wet and/or frozen most of the time – I’ve fallen over on it a few times, including into oncoming traffic because it’s too dark to see.

    Of course, it’s all “within regulations”. Who cares if someone gets injured or there’s an accident, it’s “within regulations”.

  2. I take issue with Skanska and the clues are all there in the photo.

    The recommended clear width of footways 2000mm, with an obstruction 1500mm, absolute minimum is 1000mm. Looking at the photo I would think the width is between 1000 and 1500. However unless there is good reason to position the lamp post in such an inconvenient and hazardous position as this then any competent risk assessment would insist it is moved to the back of footway where I can just see a retaining wall. Alternatively it should be set back 450mm from the kerb, not close to 1000mm as the photo shows. Yes there could be utilities in the way but there is no evidence that they have checked for these by trial hole and in a residential street they are probably not densely packed. The nearby tree gives a clue that services are unlikely along the 450mm set back line. Thus Skanska are wrong in that it does not meet Health and Safety regulations even if it doesn’t technically contravene recommendations re footway widths.

  3. Rosie Light says:

    Good to know I am not the only miffed resident regarding the new street lighting. Skamska (oops, bit of a typo there) visited my street in Coulsdon last week and have placed the new lamp posts nowhere near the old ones, at least on the odd numbered side of the road. Personally, I have one now placed on the end of my drive, making ot a bit of an obstruction getting in out of my property. The old ones were placed between the semi detached properties, in no ones way.

    Moreover, either they ran out or regulations, as they like to call them, say street lights are not necessary both sides of the road, as there are no new ones from about no.14 to the end. What’s with that?

    We can rest easy though as I noticed this morning they had been already to stick the no dog fouling stickers on and the lights at the top… not on tonight though.

    I rang Croydon Council last week and was assured of a return phone call within 7 days… I have no idea why I couldn’t have been put through to someone?!

    Not happy!!

    • They couldn’t put you through to anyone because there’s so few staff left to staff the enquiries lines… But Croydon Council has its very own architects department now, so that’s all good, then.

  4. farmersboy says:

    We’ve still got the stumps 18 months down the line. I know when it was because the Tory incumbent accidentally knocked on my door before the local elections, a mistake they probably won’t repeat.

    I think the stumps are probably permanent now and Skanky are working on the theory if leave something long enough people just forget it’s there.

  5. mandolin456 says:

    Although the work was a bit disjointed it has now been completed but converted our Close from a well lit area to a scene from the Exorcist!
    A person standing under a bright street light whilst all around is a stygian darkness.
    I had a look at the Skanska website and it has a photo that is a clear
    misrepresentation of the effectiveness of the new lighting. A lie and a PFI to boot, the same device that has put our NHS into major debt as it tries to pay exorbitant interest rates at the expense of patient care.

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