'A lot more needs to be done' - Hitchin resident's petition for better street lighting in Westmill

Liz Whitelock trips over in Hitchin due to dim streetlighting

Hitchin's Liz Whitelock was left with severe bruising and had to go to A&E after her "shocking fall". - Credit: Liz Whitelock

A Hitchin resident who suffered a "shocking fall" has started a petition to improve the "poor and dim" street lighting in and around Westmill.

Liz Whitelock fell and smashed her face into the pavement on Milestone Road in the evening of March 28, and ended up going to A&E at Lister.

In response to her ordeal, Liz set up a petition to improve the quality of streetlights near her home in the name of public safety.

"I'm hoping that people will sign the petition, because a lot more needs to be done," she said.

"I don't think it's just the Westmill area where this is a problem. Some of the comments I've had, it's a common problem all over Hitchin."

Liz Whitelock Hitchin fall streetlight

Liz points out the exact spot where she tripped and fell due to the streetlighting - Credit: Jacqueline McDonald

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She added that she didn't want anyone to suffer an accident like - or worse - than hers, and cited that a friend had also fallen in the street under similar circumstances. 

Liz hopes that her petition will be a starting point for meaningful change. She continued: "I believe that sometimes, public peer pressure is a good thing, and I think that the support from the Comet, as well as the petition, made the council realise that they have to do something.

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"I just wish the public would speak up more. I don't deal with politics, but a councillor can only do so much. The more the public creates a fuss, the more it has an effect, I believe anyway."

Liz is proud that her petition has accumulated 179 signatures, and hopes to join with other individuals across the country to form a national campaign.

"It is a good feeling, and every day the petition is slowly rising."

A spokesperson for Herts County Council released the following statement regarding changes they're making to street lighting in Westmill: “We are always happy to hear the views of Herts residents, and submitting petitions are one way that people can do this. We’d like to offer our sympathy to the resident who was injured after her fall in Westmill. The safety of our residents is of the utmost importance to us.

"An internal investigation in to this particular incident confirmed that the lighting levels in the area were in accordance with the council’s safe and operational level of lighting and in line with the county council’s policy.

"While we will therefore continue to follow a dimming regime, we have arranged for the shields be removed from the street lights in Westmill Road and anticipate this will be completed within the next two weeks. This will improve the distribution of lighting on the footways which will improve the overall level of brightness.”

To sign Liz's petition for the improvement of the poor and dim street lighting in Hitchin and beyond, visit change.org.

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