Spotlight on saving historic lamp posts

A campaign has been launched to help save historic period cast iron street lamps in Sharrow Vale. Pictured are Lorna Bartley, Katie Bennett, Jane Grant, Alistair Wood, Sean Brown and Shelley Cockayne with one of the lamps on Meadow Terrace.
A campaign has been launched to help save historic period cast iron street lamps in Sharrow Vale. Pictured are Lorna Bartley, Katie Bennett, Jane Grant, Alistair Wood, Sean Brown and Shelley Cockayne with one of the lamps on Meadow Terrace.
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Distinctive lamps which have cast a glow on the streets of a Sheffield suburb for decades could soon disappear.

Residents are campaigning to keep Sharrow Vale’s 83 period lamp posts from being ripped out as part of a major project to resurface roads and upgrade street lighting to LED models across the city.

Shelley Cockayne, chair of Sharrow Vale Community Association, said: “The lamps do look a bit scruffy, but with a lick of paint and done up properly they could add something to the area, which is quite quaint and quintissential.

“We get school parties coming to look at the local architecture and the lamps so it seems a shame to get rid of them forever.”

The campaigners want the lamp posts – which make up half of Sharrow Vale’s street lighting – to be kept, and
 the fittings upgraded to LEDs.

More than 100 people have supported the campaign in a few days and campaigners are already in touch with lamp renovation experts.

However, an email from contractor Amey, which is undertaking the work under Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead scheme to upgrade the city’s streets, says the lamp posts are old and without ‘specialist material investigation’ it cannot be guaranteed 
the public are not put at risk.

And it says that once removed, the cast iron posts would be sold for scrap at £70 each.

A community drive has now been launched in a bid to make Amey reschedule its current work in Sharrow Vale so the lamp posts have a stay of execution and options for their renovation can be explored.

Residents say the posts add character to the area, which is pivotal to making it a popular destination, and believe they date back 100 years.

Shelley said: “These were gas lamps that have been upgraded to be electric, so why can’t they upgrade them to LED?

“Sheffield Council claims they are not safe, but it does not have any evidence or analysis to support that.

“We would like more time to explore the options for renovation.”

The community group was thanked for showing ‘passion’ by Steve Robinson, council head of highway maintenance.

However, he said: “These streetlights do not date back to the Victorian era – we think they were installed in the 1950s.”

The council said it had investigated refurbishing such columns, but they would need to be adapted and fully refurbished to meet ‘lighting standards’.

Mr Robinson said it was not possible to delay the work as lighting design was bespoke for each road.

He said: “The lighting units are ordered from the supplier on a street-by-street basis. The lead in time for this is quite long.

“Units for Sharrow Vale have already been ordered. It is not possible to simply move into another area as the lighting scheme may not have been designed and the units won’t have been ordered.”

The council has so far replaced 22,000 street lights with LED lights which are brighter and use less energy.

An online petition against removing the lights can be signed at change.org