Sudbury: Call to turn street lights back on after man trips on drain cover and fractures skull and eye socket

Thomas Ryan tripped over a drain that is sticking up in Raleigh Road, Sudbury, as he couldn't see it due to the streetlights being turned off at midnight. Thomas Ryan tripped over a drain that is sticking up in Raleigh Road, Sudbury, as he couldn't see it due to the streetlights being turned off at midnight.

Friday, April 11, 2014
1:04 PM

Calls have been made for street lights to be switched back on at night in parts of Sudbury after a man blamed the lack of lighting for a fall which left him unconscious for more than an hour.

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Thomas Ryan, 58, of Hardy Court, suffered a fractured skull and shattered eye socket after tripping over a raised drain cover when returning from babysitting duties in nearby Raleigh Road at about 12.15am on Saturday.

His plea for lights to be switched on again between midnight and 5am has been backed by town councillor Sue Ayres, who warned the county council that uneven pavements, combined with the overnight blackout, had turned the Springlands estate into an “accident waiting to happen.”

Lights on the estate have been turned off at midnight since the county council introduced the idea as an energy saving measure.

Mr Ryan, who was lying in the rain for about 90 minutes after the incident, said: “I was so lucky that someone found me and called the ambulance.

“When my daughter came to see me, she couldn’t believe the state I was in – my skull is cracked and the doctors are worried about splinters of bone around my eye sockets.”

There is a street light next to the drain – which is raised above the ground by about four inches at one end – and Mr Ryan believes he would not have tripped had the light been on.

He added: “There are a lot of elderly people living up here and I would hate for this to happen to anyone else. If someone older had tripped over that drain, it could have killed them.”

In December, Mrs Ayres toured the estate with police officers at 1am and compiled a report detailing the potential hazards.

She said: “There are lots of people in that area who work night shifts and walk home in the early hours of the morning when it’s pitch black. With the current state of the footpaths and the lack of lighting, many areas are hazardous.

“I wrote to the county council and warned them but the police said there had been no extra reported crime since the lights were switched off so they could see no reason to turn them back on.

“But when I surveyed residents on the estate, there wasn’t one person who was happy with the lights being switched off at midnight.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We’re currently investigating whether the specific area in question is maintained by us as the highway authority.

“We take seriously any threats to the safety of the public and street lights can be kept on if we receive a request from the police to do so.

“We have also kept on lights to support local overnight events; ensuring members of the public can travel home safely.”

14 comments

  • Curly Dave, we were broken in to as well but in broad daylight as well as at night before the switch off, surely it is better to see someone acting suspiciously if there is no light?

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    C Smith

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • The walk from Raleigh Road to Hardy Court is not much more than 100 yards. Torch batteries are not going to run out in that short time.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • "We have also kept on lights to support local overnight events; ensuring members of the public can travel home safely.” That sums it up well (normally we can no longer expect to travel home safely). Just look at the state of some of your pavements, roads, walkways and car parks etc. and you'll find that they are a hazard in daylight!

    Report this comment

    John Shirley

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Rach01

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • People need to start taking personal responsibility for their actions and not finding someone else to blame every time there is an accident.

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    ipswichLAD

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • It is night, it is meant to be dark. We have caused all sorts of problems for wildlife etc because of everywhere being like 24 hour daylight. I feel sorry for the man but we just all need to be prepared now the same as someone who lives in the country where there never were streetlights. I think that they should have installed movement activated streetlighting rather than a complete switch off for security purposes but I like the fact it is actually dark when it is supposed to be, it is also better for our health as apparently when we sleep light interferes with our bodies healing processes.

    Report this comment

    C Smith

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Presumably he knew it was going to be dark before he left home? When the lights were originally put out here in Ipswich I worked out that a reasonably cheap torch and rechargeable batteries set me back not much more than I'd be saving in Council Tax in the first year from the council's savings in electricity. So by now I'm quids in and we've also saved a good amount of CO2 emissions. I'd like to see more lights turned off to save even more money and CO2 - there's no good reason why even main roads through town need to be blazing with as much light in the small hours of the morning when there's hardly anybody about as they are earlier on.

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    beerlover

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Why should we all pay for lighting that is on all night just because people want to wander around in the small hours. Carry a torch and look where you are going is not to much to ask of an adult

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    John W

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Why should people carry a torch,maybe if it was to happen to yourself or someone in your family u would want to lights back on

    Report this comment

    Rach01

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • cheap torch works wonders

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    coolessex

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Within 3 months of the lights being turned off at night I had a break - in to my shed & then parts removed from my car about 2 weeks apart. The police don't want to know unless you pressure them. The result is that many of the properties nearby now put their own lights on for protection therefore there are six or seven lights using power instead of one so where is the sense in that ? I get no reduction on my council tax but I have to pay for the light to be on all night, my house insurance is higher & I have had to buy alarms & extra padlocks.

    Report this comment

    Curly Dave

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • I find that carrying a small torch is ample to prevent these incidents occurring. No need for lights to be burning all night wasting electricity.

    Report this comment

    Roy Startup

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • @Rach01 - so that accidents like this don't happen. People need to take responsibility for their own actions rather than looking for someone to blame all the time. There are much more important things that can be funded by the savings from keeping streetlights off during the night.

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    ipswichLAD

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • My initial comment was buy a torch- cheap enough these days. I have PIR lights in my back garden- again cheap enough these days. If set up correctly, they will only come on if someone- not a cat- comes onto your property. That way, I pay for that short burst of electricity, not the tax payers if street lights are to be left on all night. As I pay council tax, I am all for keeping the bills down.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, April 11, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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