Light in the Darkness
After a concerted campaign by Leicester University Students' Union, including a 1000 signature petition, the City Council has installed new lighting in Victoria Park to improve security. How will this help?
Two educational institutions stand on the edge of Victoria Park in the city: the University of Leicester and Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College.
The park is a well used thoroughfare and during the day and night thousands of young people and local residents cross the park using the well established network of paths.
During the night and evening it's a much more threatening place. But because of its central position even after dark it's a short cut for night walkers who otherwise would have to detour around the perimeter roads.
All of which gave the Students' Union cause for concern.
Spearheading the campaign for new lighting was Julia Coates, Vice President, Welfare at the Students' Union. She was deeply concerned about the safety of people crossing the park at night.
Student Tim Sansom, in a feature elsewhere on the site written when the campaign was in full swing, commented, "Victoria Park's play area is usually full of excited children and parents throughout the day, but the area resembles a black hole at night
"The dark alcoves that surround the nearby pond are ideal hiding places for muggers and rapists."
The campaign has borne fruit. Dozens of new lights have been installed across the park by the city council. £50,000 has been spent on 60 new lighting columns.
The bulbs are energy efficient and designed to illuminate paths with the minimum of light spillage.
The new lights are being installed along the main routes from Victoria Park Road to the War Memorial, the paths which run diagonally from De Montfort Hall towards Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College and the routes past the tennis courts and skate ramp.
One concern has been for the wildlife of the park. Bright light at night may confuse the animals.
For this reason the nature area and pond near Victoria Park will remain free of lighting.
Leicester City Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and transport, Councillor Patrick Kitterick, said;
"I am pleased we have been able to deliver this promise which will encourage walking and improve safety on Victoria Park.
"Although the issue was raised by Leicester University’s Students Union the lights will benefit the whole community."
A spokesperson for Leicester University Students Union added: "The Students Union is happy to welcome the new lights in Victoria Park. We are very grateful to see the student voice is being listened to and acted upon."
last updated: 08/05/2008 at 16:25