POLICE have demanded street lights are switched back on in a busy road after a man was killed and another seriously injured in the space of 45 minutes.

Officers investigating the incidents, believe lack of street lighting in Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, may have contributed to the accidents that happened in the early hours of Saturday, November 29.

Father David Charles, 44, was killed after being hit by three cars as he walked home from his work Christmas party at 1.10am.

The Echo has since learned just 40 minutes before Mr Charles’ death, a 30-year-old man suffered a serious head injury after being knocked down at the same spot.

Essex County Council has now agreed to permanently switch the lights back on in Cranes Farm Road between 1am and 5am.

The demands came after officers investigating the two incidents said they believed lack of street lighting in Cranes Farm Road could have contributed to the accidents.

They raised serious concerns about revellers walking home from nights out at Festival Leisure Park in the pitch black.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We are investigating two separate road traffic collisions that occured in Cranes Farm Road between midnight and 1am.

“Very sadly, one of those resulted in the death of a man it appears may have been walking in the carriageway of the road.

“The full circumstances of both incidents have not yet been established. The inquirywill look at a range of issues including visibility and location.

“The street lights were not on at the time of both collisions. The initial police assessment of the circumstances has determined that the lack of street lighting must be considered as a potential contributory factor.

“Essex Police have spoken with Essex County Council to advise them of the initial findings, especially in light of the road’s location near to Festival Leisure and the expected movement of people around the leisure park after midnight.

“Given this information Essex Police have requested that the street lights are turned on as an interim safety measure.”

Councillors and campaigners have welcomes the news – and believe lights should be switched back on throughout the borough.

David Shepherd, a Basildon Ukip councillor, who represents Fryerns ward, said: “This is a start but it is not enough. The lights need to be switched on across the whole of the county.

“I have written to the councillor responsible, Rodney Bass, following the fatal accident, and I have asked him in my letter, ‘how many more people need to die before you switch the lights back on?’.”

Mr Bass, Essex county councillor responsible for highways and transportation, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the man who died at this very difficult time.

“Given the tragic nature of this incident we have acted to ensure that the lighting in Cranes Farm Road is restored at night.”

Busy leisure park should be next for lights turn-on

THE Police and Crime
Commissioner for Essex says
Mr Charles’s death highlights
the need for lights to be
switched on in busy areas,
such as close to Basildon’s
Festival Leisure Park.
Nick Alston is pleased the
county council has responded
to police requests to switch
on the lights.
He explained how concerns
were raised about the lack of
lighting in Basildon during a
public meeting earlier this
He said: “In February, at one
of my public meetings in
Basildon, there was an
extensive discussion about
part night lighting. It was
strongly felt consideration
should be given to creating
‘safe corridors’ to enable
people working in or enjoying
Basildon’s busy night life to
return safely to their
residential homes.
“I believe in areas with a
busy nightlife open into the
early hours, where many
people may be making their
way home on foot, we should
ensure that there is sufficient
lighting to enable motorists
and pedestrians to see each
other clearly.
“I note that the AA has
called for ‘the lights go back
on along 40mph or faster
roads in built-up areas’,
stating ‘crash investigators in
inquests have consistently
stated that drivers who keep
to the speed limit on those
roads have little or no chance
of missing pedestrians that
appear out of the dark’.”