Let Skanska know if you take a dim view of their street lighting

With the nights closing in, the council’s lighting contractors Skanska are seeking the feedback of residents. Maybe the people paying for the street lamps can cast some light on why it all seems to be taking so long.

Beware - Men Not at Work: double signs and random holes in the road. How is Skanska doing?

Men Not at Work: double signs and random holes in the road. How is Skanska doing?

Skanska probably think – hope – that no one will bother.

But Croydon locals should take the opportunity to let them know exactly what we think of their handiwork so far.

Residents who have had to put up with overbright street lights being mis-positioned, in some cases even blocking pavements, random holes in the road left inexplicably for days at end before the work is made good, frequent outages of lighting, perfectly serviceable roads signs being doubled up and eventually replaced… And all for millions of pounds of public money, being delivered long after it was scheduled.

And that’s before any considers the thinking behind digging up seemingly perfectly serviceable, Victorian-style lamp posts that suited the 19th century streetscape, to be replaced by something inspired by the invaders from War of the Worlds.

Croydon Council has a 25-year, £79 million joint contract with neighbouring Lewisham council and Skanska. It’s just that no one imagined that Skanska might take what seems like 25 years to undertake the work.

skanskaSo some bright spark at the contractors has decided to take a bit of a gamble to ask what residents think of their work. Either that, or they are betting that no one will bother contacting them.

“We are replacing the street lights in your area and would like your feedback on how you think we’re doing?” they ask in leaflets going through the doors of some neighbourhoods. The sentence’s redundant question mark may be intended symbolically of Skanska’s work. Or probably not.

Inside Croydon would encourage its loyal reader to disabuse Skanska of its reliance on residents’ inertia, and to take part in the survey, here.

After all, it’s our money which is ultimately paying for the “survey”, so that Skanska can report back to their clients, the council, our council, about what a terrific job they have been doing.

You can also call 0800 028 5986 and a member of staff will input your answers for you. Less than half of the “survey” is about street lighting, with the majority (optional) of the questions concerning equalities policy.

You can use that same phone number to contact Skanska directly, or email them at clstreetlighting@skanska.co.uk

And don’t worry: “Your feedback will be treated in confidence”, Skanska say.

About insidecroydon

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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Let Skanska know if you take a dim view of their street lighting

  1. Lewis White says:

    The bad things — I agree with your article that it is areal shame that the Council allowed Skanska to take out all those lovely cast iron lamp posts with the decorative lower sections in numerous side streets– they could easily have been converted to the new white source lamps. A reason often advanced for ripping cast iron out is that it breaks under impact from vehicles– so a lamp post might fall on a car or passer -by. This can be true, but one has to say that in most cases the speeds possible in these side streets is so low that the chances of a serious impact are negligible. Cast iron lasts for a thousand years without rusting beyond the surface, so would not rust away like more modern steel columns did (dog wee and road salt are real corrosive agents) until they started to coat the bottom of the columns in bitumen.

    There are numerous places where the removal of the old lamps is a serious case of heritage being stripped out- leaving the streetscape far less interesting. I am not advocating keeping all old street furniture, but surely many residential side streets could have been converted?

    In the last few weeks, some elegant modern lamp columns in Coulsdon at the Marlpit Lane roundabout that were only 5 or so years old (designed as part of he Coulsdon by pass project) have been ripped out and replaced with new lamp columns that look like the legs of North sea oil rigs. They should be able to take a direct hit from a Chieftain tank. Practical? Needlessly lumpy and over engineered.

    The good things– thanks to the new white lighting, replacing the old Lucozade-coloured orange “Low pressure sodium” lamps, the stars are now coming back to our Croydon skies.
    Whilst initially the new white lights did look bright, they tone down after a few months. To me, the old orange coloured lighting looked oppressive and polluted the skies with an all encompassing “orange glow” .The South Croydon- Coulsdon valley was filled with unsightly orange light pollution at night, which is now disappearing as the old lights are taken out– in damp conditions, it was like a fog.

    The new white lights give a really clean, clear light, and allow for much better visibility, as the human eye can see properly in this light. This must be safer, road safety wise, and also for personal safety, as you can see the true colours of clothing and vehicles.

    On balance I am very pleased with the removal of light pollution from our streets, and the restored view of the night skies, but feel that Skanska and the Client–Croydon Council– should have been more sensitive about offering residents on a street by street basis, the choice of keeping their nice old columns and converting them with the new white light luminaires.

  2. Sadly the real problem with the old ‘swan-neck’ lamps (which I believe most of us preferred as having character) was that they could not be converted and were too low. The new lights are much higher to cast sufficient light across the road illuminating the pavements on both sides, which the old ones failed to do. The white lights are both more energy efficient and give a better spread of light without illuminating the sky to much. The accuracy of colours seen under them is a major highway safety benefit . Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to enable us to see the night sky in the same way as many other areas outside major urban areas enjoy. I spend a fair amount of time in the west country where ink black skies with spectacular stars and the milky way are normal but never seen in the south east.

  3. blath8 says:

    I have found the survey to be completely ineffectual as there is no-where to leave a comment about what the issues were/are or why particular responses were chosen. Some of the options did not fit with what I wanted to say in an case. Whatever statistics they choose from this survey will inevitably be skewed.

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