HUNDREDS of Swanage street lights will be switched off overnight as part of County Hall’s continued cost-cutting measures, it has been announced.

Next month almost 800 lights will be switched off every midnight, plunging the town’s side streets into darkness.

They’ll only turn back on the following morning, around 5.30am, if it is still dark.

Work to equip lampposts with timers and sensors will take four weeks, and county officials say the night time switch off will be implemented in April.

“Lights will only be turned off where there are no significant concerns over road safety and crime and 200 street lights will remain lit in the town,” explained a Dorset County Council (DCC) spokesman.

“In parts of Dorset where lights have already been switched off, there has been no evidence of an increase in crime.”

Initially, when the controversial street lighting programme was announced for other Dorset towns, DCC refused to list which streets would be affected.

The Daily Echo submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act but County Hall refused to budge, citing the prevention of crime as reason for remaining tight-lipped.

However, after we appealed the county reviewed its stance and decided it was in the public interest to release the information after all.

Cllr John Wilson, DCC’s Member Champion for Freedom of Information, said: “There is nothing secret about it at all. Residents have every right to know about their street lights.”

You can view details of which Swanage roads will be affected by the street light switch off by clicking the link below.

Swanage street lights

Lights will remain lit on all town centre and seafront main roads, and any roads with speed humps.

An announcement has yet to be made on when Wareham’s street lights will follow suit.