Conversion of 3,009 Thanet streetlamps to LED all-night lighting to begin in April

Streetlights will be converted and switched back on at night Photo Chris Constantine

A programme to convert 3,009 streetlights in Thanet to LED all-night lighting will begin in April.

Kent County Council began a conversion programme of 118,000 street lights to energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology in March 2016.

The scheme, which began a new roll-out this January, is due for completion in May 2019 but last year hit a funding problem because of the high number of concrete column lights, particularly on the isle, that needed replacing.

In Thanet there are 9,931 street lights. Between December 2016 and May 2017 6,922 were converted to the new system.

But 3,009 remained unconverted – and so unlit at night – with 2,500 of these being concrete column lights and the remainder being ornate street lights. All the lights will now be converted in this second phase of the scheme.

Some £1.9 million will be dedicated to replacing Thanet’s stone column posts out of KCCs agreed budget of £794.7million.

Made vulnerable to attack by lack of lighting

The news has been welcomed by Lillian Constantine, of Ramsgate, who was attacked on an unlit Ramsgate seafront road in September 2016.

Lillian, then 18, had spent the evening with friends on Ramsgate seafront and was heading home along Sion Hill when restaurant worker Ashraf Miah followed her. He grabbed her and sexually assaulted her despite her desperate fight back.

But Lillian, who had been using her phone to try and light her route home because the streetlights had been turned off, managed to record the attempted rape.

Her footage was instrumental in helping police identify and Miah to an address in London and to convict him in court.

He was sentenced to 13-and-a-half-years at Canterbury Crown Court in April 2017 and will be deported at the end of that term.

Lillian, now 20, says she believes “100%” that the attack was made possible due to the lights being turned off in a money-saving bid by the county council.

She said: “Criminals and predators see the dark as an opportunity to strike. It creates vulnerability.

“I had been using my phone as a light because I didn’t feel safe.”


Photo Chris Constantine

She added: “I am glad the lights will now be converted, it’s progress. It would be good to get them done as fast as possible, before the Summer when lots of young people are going out, especially in places like Ramsgate.

“Thanet has the highest number of recorded sex crimes in the south east so starting here will hopefully help to reduce those crimes.”

Lillian, who waived her right to anonymity, has not let the attack define her life.

Despite the horrendous aftermath which involved attending a sexual assault referral clinic for swabs and nail clippings and then enduring dozens of blood tests, a pregnancy test and HIV prevention medication that left her bedbound for a month, the student spoke out in a bid to highlight both the lighting issue and the trauma of sexual attack.

She is now due to begin a film-making course at the Manchester School of Art.

Lillian’s mum, county councillor Karen Constantine, has campaigned for the conversion to be fast-tracked since the attack on her daughter.

She again raised the question of Thanet’s light conversion during a KCC budget meeting last month, stipulating it was essential for public safety.

Cabinet member for highways, Cllr Mike Whiting, confirmed at the meeting that the £2,6million needed for the scheme is within council coffers.

She said: “After many months of applying pressure and asking questions at every opportunity I’m pleased that not only has the money been found but that work will start next month. This was the question I put to Mike Whiting at the last KCC meeting.

“It’s imperative that the feeling of public safety is put first. Many many people have contacted me about their fears of being out in the dark. It’s excellent news that this battle is over.

“I’m sorry people, including my own daughter, have suffered. Thankfully this is behind her.”

Thanet Tory county councillor Paul Messenger said: “Phase 2 budget monies have now come forward because of our (KCC) recently agreed budget. This is good news for Thanet as all the concrete posts will now be converted to LED. It is unfortunate that the entire Labour Group at KCC voted against this budget.”

The programme

Thanet is the first area in the second phase programme with conversions beginning next month (April). Ashford will also have light conversions from April while Shepway is programmed for August.

The streetlight project, when completed, will save Kent taxpayers up to £5.2 million each year through a reduction in energy costs.

The £40 million project is partly funded by a £22 million interest-free loan from SALIX, a government organisation, funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It will pay for itself within eight years.

KCC started carrying out a county-wide scheme in 2013 to switch off 70,000 streetlights between midnight and 5.30am to save £1 million a year, cut carbon emissions by 5,000 tonnes annually and reduce light pollution.

The LED project, and return to night lighting, followed on the heels of a Kent-wide call started by Gravesham campaigner Tina Brooker. There was also a sustained campaign in Thanet headed by Broadstairs residents and Labour councillors, including Cllr Matterface, which produced a Thanet-wide petition against the switch off decision.

Every Thanet street with lights due to be converted (KCC has been asked to check for updates which we will add)

Photo Chris Constantine

Minster Road

The Street

Park Lane

Minster Road

George V Avenue

Hartsdown Road

Shottendane Road

Star Lane

Enterprise Road

Tivoli Road

Addiscombe Road

Park Crescent Road

Park Road

Laleham Road

Millmead Road

Footpath From Grosvenor Hill

Union Crescent

Trinity Square

Zion Place

Addington Street

Booth Place

Bath Road

Dane Hill

Cliff Terrace

Ethelbert Crescent

Ethelbert Terrace

Queens Parade

Wilderness Hill

Eastern Esplanade

Palm Bay Avenue

Princess Margaret Avenue

Queen Elizabeth Avenue

Northumberland Avenue

Northdown Road

Northdown Park Road

Foreland Avenue

George Hill Road

Green Lane

Northdown Hill

George Hill Road

Whiteness Road

Convent Road

Beacon Road

Westover Road

Albion Road

Bairds Hill

St Peters Park Road

Vicarage Street

Church Street

Pysons Road

Northwood Road

Nelson Place

North Foreland Hill

Stone Road

North Foreland Road

Callis Court Road

Gladstone Road

Osborne Road

Queens Gardens

York Street

West Cliff Avenue

Dumpton Park Drive

Montefiore Avenue

Thanet Road

Victoria Road

Bellevue Road

Plains Of Waterloo

King Street

Madeira Walk

Broad Street

Hardres Street

Chatham Street

High Street

Royal Parade


West Cliff Road

St Augustines Road

Grange Road

Ellington Place

Wilfred Road

Princes Road

Station Approach Road

Bush Avenue

St Johns Crescent

Melbourne Avenue

St Johns Avenue

Stirling Way

Northwood Road

Allenby Road

Whitehall Road

London Road

Royal Harbour Approach

Foads Hill

Foads Lane

Cottington Road

Manston Road

Manston Road

Church Street

Tothill Street

Willetts Hill

Monkton Street

Monkton Road

Ramsgate Road

Margate Hill

Shottendane Road

Manston Road

Nash Road

Beatrice Road

College Road

Ramsgate Road

Queens Avenue

High Street

St Peters Road

Belgrave Road

Eaton Road

Grosvenor Gardens


Hawley Street

Marine Drive

The Parade

Fort Hill

Fort Crescent

St Peters Road

Dane Court Road

Rumfields Road

Bromstone Road

Fairfield Road

Broadstairs Road

Westwood Road

High Street

Queens Road

Ramsgate Road

Dumpton Park Drive

Hereson Road

Boundary Road

High Street

Nethercourt Hill

Park Road

Newington Road

Margate Road

Haine Road

Manston Road

New Haine Road

Canterbury Road East

Sandwich Road

Ebbsfleet Lane

Hengist Way

Canterbury Road West

Canterbury Road

Foxborough Lane

Bedlam Court Lane

Un-Named Road From Minster Road

Minster Road

Mount Pleasant

Monkton Roundabout

Sevenscore Roundabout

Richborough Way

Ebbsfleet Roundabout

Jutes Lane

The Centre

Princes Street

Mill Lane

Herbert Place

Wings Close

Nelson Place

Harbour Street

Chapel Place

Albion Street

John Street

Charlotte Street

York Street

Staffordshire Street

Turner Street

King Street

Kings Place

Harbour Parade

Abbots Hill

Broad Street

Harbour Street

York Street

Leopold Street

Queen Street

Colemans Yard

High Street

George Street

Cavendish Street

Meeting Street

Queens Court

The Square

Marine Gardens

Queen Street

Cecil Square

Cecil Street

Hawley Street

Hawley Square

Churchfield Place


High Street

The Broadway

High Street

High Street

Beach Street

Queen Street

Broad Street

Victoria Road

Queen Street

King Street

Albert Terrace

Hawley Square

Addington Square

New Cross Street

New Street

Avondale Place

Newbys Place

Lombard Street

Market Street

Market Place

Duke Street

Love Lane

Broad Street

King Street

Fort Road

Mansion Street

Nightingale Place

Dalby Road

Dalby Square

Godwin Road

Offley Close

Victoria Parade

Merrivale Heights

Upton Grange

Trinity Square

Newmans Close

Victoria Road

Fairfield Park

Old Kingsdown Close

Devonshire Terrace

Tunis Row

Winterstoke Undercliff

Victoria Parade

Cycle Track From Victoria Parade

Marina Road

La Belle Alliance Square

Madeira Walk

Wellington Crescent

Albion Place

Kent Place

Prince Edward Promenade

Guildford Lawn

Effingham Street

Sion Hill

James Street

Addington Street

Ivy Lane

Vale Square

Homestead Village

Chapman Fields

Highlands Glade

Vicarage Garden

Cheney Road

High Street

Station Road

Watchester Lane


  1. A number of other properties in Northwood (and perhaps in other wards) are not on the above list but remain unconverted. It would be good for this roll-out to cover all properties while retaining the appearance of those ornate and other street lamps.

    • Why cant we have led lights in beach drive wimpey estate. at the moment the lights are switched off at midnight

      • You probably will when the concrete poles are changed. It seems that Kent Highways officers hadn’t taken on board the concrete ones weren’t suitable. Many on the Wimpey Estate are concrete like so many in Thanet and the funds weren’t available at the time for replacing them.

  2. Some lights in thanet are the property of thanet district council , if you report the numbers to kcc they will check who is responsible for them, overall another victory for your Labour councillors in thanet in particular Karen Constantine

  3. Labour councillors have fought for this for years including Jenny Matterface and Iris Johnson on thanet district council,I am proud to be in a Party who thinks people’s safety can not be sacrificed in the name of austerity.

  4. Let’s be accurate here. The original campaign started back in 2013 when we realised the implications of the lack of all-night lighting. A group of us, mainly Labour members, but with others of no affiliation, started petitions both online and paper. KCC accepted the various petitions but initially declined to take action and we had the unbelievable comment from a West Kent County Councillor who said his residents didn’t have any streetlights so what we were complaining about.

    The campaign eventually bore fruit but it hadn’t been realised that concrete poles aren’t suitable, for some reason, of being changed to LED lighting and that is why a subsequent campaign ran and seems to have been successful. It was a shame that some county councillors didn’t think that personal safety of their residents was a priority. We heard tales of people to work to open up and stock shelves at our supermarkets by torchlight in the 21st century! Carers trying to find houses where they were due to see to the vulnerable. Bar staff paying for taxis rather than walk through darkened streets. Lots more stories I could mention.

  5. This is interesting, since the story is a nice opinion piece, but doesn’t hold up to the facts. Sexual assaults have been rising since 2009 in the area (can be Googled), but the streetlight “off” program started in 2013. So … why is there not better policing if it is a known problem area? So … they spent 40 million pounds because of an available grant for streetlights. The same grant seems not to be available to hire more police. 40 million pounds would hire a lot of police. And why do people walk alone at night in problem areas?

    It will be interesting to note what the crime stats will be in a few years.

  6. Kevin, some people have to work anti-social hours and if they aren’t drivers end up walking. One woman in my ward was responsible for opening up a supermarket and sorting out deliveries so that customers could collect their newspapers, fresh bread etc. She walked by torchlight at 5a.m because she loves her job. A young woman works as a barmaid and used to take the last bus home. When the lights were switched off she took a taxi because she didn’t want to walk along unlit streets from the Loop bus stop. Would you want any member of your family to be out late after midnight on unlit streets? We heard about taxis not being able to find addresses. Ambulance drivers checking house numbers by torchlight and so on. One young skilled worker had his van broken into the first night the lights were off and his tools stolen. He said he had never had any issues with his locked van parked outside his house until then. That is why we campaigned to get the lights back on.

  7. We live in an area that requires proper lighting 24/7 for shift workers and this money from kcc. Police funding has been cut by this present government not by kcc, we need both good lighting and more police which is Labour Party policy, well said Jenny Matterface for her long term campaign

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