Milton Keynes schoolgirl sheds light on child safety concern

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A 15-year-old schoolgirl who protested about walking home in the dark has prompted a survey of street lighting.

Plucky Charlotte Ranger went to her local parish council meeting to complain about inadequate lighting in Milton Keynes Village.

She was horrified when the chairman told her that brighter lighting could lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour.

“He placed more emphasis on his wish to remain in the dark than the safety from being attacked that so many of my peers and myself wish to openly express,” said Charlotte, who walks home from Oakgrove school each evening.

“It didn’t matter that I have to run home from school because I’m scared of people in the dark...

“It didn’t matter if I get sexually assaulted, as long as we can prevent a few people hanging out under some street lights.

“Is my safety really that irrelevant to the parish council?”

Street lighting is the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council, and Charlotte sent a poignant email to all prominent councillors and even the council’s chief executive Carole Mills.

Her local Tory councillor John Bint has already agreed to ask the highways department to carry out a survey of the lighting in the village.

Meanwhile parish council chair David Monk has scrutinised all the lights and reported several faulty ones.

He said: “I was not being difficult. I was merely repeating the view of some parishioners that bright lighting might result in more anti social behaviour because it would encourage people to hang around in well-lit areas.

“Sometimes bright lights can change the character of a village.”

The council aims to repair a faulty street lamp within seven days – or 28 days if it is just one light on a well-lit grid road.