SAFETY concerns and fear of crime have escalated in Brentwood since the big nightime lights switch-off.

Worried residents have been contacting the Weekly News since it happened earlier this month.

Essex County Council bosses went ahead with their part-night lighting project on Sunday March 9, having already rolled it out to other parts of the county.

The move sees lights around parts of the borough switched off between midnight and 5am every day.

Roads in Brentwood borough where streetlights have been switched off include:

•Ongar Road, Pilgrims Hatch
•Shenfield Road, Shenfield
•Warley Hill, Warley
•Brentwood Road, Ingrave
•Brook Street, Brentwood

Dave Jones, 27, of Rollason Way, Brentwood, said: “My girlfriend lives in North Weald and a couple of times when I’ve driven back from there it is noticeable darker.

“Alot of the routes around the town now have no streetlights on at all.

“All it would take is for someone to walk out on a tight bend where they cannot see an ongoing car’s front headlights and then we’ll have something shocking on our hands.”

People living in more rural parts of the borough have also expressed concern.

Harry Condon, 20, who lives in Glovers Field, Kelvedon Hatch, said: “The other night I walked home from the Eagle pub and all the streetlights were off.

“The path between Eagle Lane to Swan Lane has a couple of posts and I nearly walked into one simply because I could not see it.

“Also it is a bit disconcerting to think someone might be waiting around the corner for you.”

County Hall bosses said plenty of “careful consideration” was made through consultations about which areas to switch off.

A spokeswoman said: “We received information from those consulted as to the lights that they believe meet the exemption criteria and, therefore, should not be moved onto the scheme.”

A police spokesman added: “We will monitor with interest the consequences of any changes in the patterns of street lighting for any impact on both crime and peoples’ fear of crime.

“We will continue to work very closely with Essex County Council and other agencies to ensure that we all keep reducing crime in Brentwood.”