Home Kent News Woman calls for proper lighting in ‘frightening’ Tunbridge Wells parks

Woman calls for proper lighting in ‘frightening’ Tunbridge Wells parks

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Original article from Kent Live

A dog owner from Tunbridge Wells ha started a petition calling for lighting in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park so people can feel safer.

Jemima Compton, who lives in High Brooms, used to walk her dog in the park three times a day but as soon as the evenings got darker, she stopped because she felt vulnerable.

The 29-year-old had been considering lobbying for lighting in the park, but it was the killing of Sarah Everard, which has left women across the country even more afraid of attack, which spurred her to act immediately.

The park is so dark in places, it is hard to see "that far ahead or behind you", said Jemima.

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"There is always a fear because it is so dark. It's a scary place. Especially at the moment, women are limiting their days to daylight and I think that is really unfair.

"Why aren't we lighting popular cut-throughs and parks which are used throughout the evening, to make them safer?"

Sarah Everard, 33, disappeared after walking home in South London on March 3 after visiting a friend. The remains of her body were found in woods near Ashford.

Wayne Couzens, 48, a serving Metropolitan Police officer, has been charged with kidnapping and murder.

"I relate to her. I relate to her age and her profession and that really basic thing of walking from a friend's house to your own," Jemima said.

"From the age of 19 to 27, I was living in South London and shared with other girls and the last place I lived was Brixton. I was followed myself once. I know these experiences. We all had stories."

Jemima's petition has now received more than 500 signatures. On the website she says the paths are often haunted by gangs of teenagers which can be "very frightening".

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Talking of Grosvenor Park, she said: "I am not saying if we don't have lighting in there someone will be taken off the streets. I just think it would be nice if we could make people feel a little bit safer and maybe in a few more areas, with any luck."

She also raised the fear sparked by a police investigation into a man committing an indecent act in the park on September 28 last year. There were other incidents around the same time in Dunorlan Park and Hawkenbury Rec.

She said it is not just a case of adding lighting. People who have contacted her on social media have raised the issue of broken lights in places in Tunbridge Wells which have gone without repair.

"Other areas which people have brought to my attention are The Grove, a damaged lamp post hasn't been repaired in almost a year, Grosvenor Walk, Queens Road, the path that runs adjacent to Longfield Road, the road behind The Forum, the Common and many more," she said.

Jemima is researching lighting which has less impact on wildlife. She has seen examples of reactive lighting used well in parts of Europe, she said.

The Friends of Grosvenor Park said: "We are aware that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been actively considering the issue of lighting in the parking. We have asked them for a further update on progress."

It said it had been in touch with Jemima.

To sign Jemima's petition, press here.

Original Article