Town lights the way for stargazers everywhere

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FILM crews from BBC’s hit programme The One Show hit the streets of Needham Market on Wednesday.

The TV show visited the town to film well into the night for a programme on the new cost-cutting intelligent street lighting system which has been installed. The show is running a piece focusing on the positive impact the new lighting system will have on stargazing.

Needham Market is the first town in Suffolk to trial the flexible lighting system which allows lights to be operated individually.

The system will eventually be rolled out across the county to save money.

The intelligent system allows street lights to be controlled individually as each one can be dimmed or turned off completely at certain times of the night.

The BBC One Show showed an interest in the scheme and selected Needham Market as a good filming location. Suffolk County Council had the lights installed and set up quickly for the TV film crew to visit.

The programme will be aired at the end of March.

Kevin Hunter, Needham Market Town Council clerk, said: “It’s quite distinct from the other media interest we have had.

“This was very much themed around stargazing and the fact that when you turn the street lights off you can see the sky.

“It’s a lot more pleasant than having the streets flooded with light all night.”

The lights will now be returned to their previous lighting pattern and Needham Market Town Council will carry out public consultation to customise the lights to the town’s requirements.

Despite gaining the attention of a popular TV show, the lighting system will also result in considerable savings for the town council. The new street lights will cut the town’s lighting costs in half, bringing the annual bill down from £5,132 to £2,586.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “The system is an ‘invest to save’ project, saving taxpayers money in the reduction of energy bills that the council has to pay.

“By investing in the new system, the council would make annual energy savings of £550,000 per year.”