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To: Stevenage Borough Council

Brighter Paths, Safer Steps: Fairlands Valley Park Lighting Petition

The cherished paths of Fairlands Valley Park are currently engulfed in darkness come nightfall, presenting safety concerns for park-goers and discouraging use after dusk. Fairlands Valley Park is a prominent part of our town connecting different neighbourhoods. This petition is about bringing together the diverse voices of all residents who use the park with one request to the Council.

I am petitioning the Stevenage Borough Council to install eco-friendly, wildlife-conscious lighting along the park's main pathways and access points that are not lit yet, North to South including the showground area. This action is vital to ensure that the park remains a safe, accessible, and enjoyable environment for all community members, irrespective of the time of day.

This is a citizen-led initiative supported by Stevenage Striders Running Club, Fairlands Valley Spartans running club, and Cycling UK.

Why is this important?

Imagine finishing your day's work and wanting to spend some peaceful 20 minutes in the park to unwind, only to be met with pitch-black pathways.

To a friend, I’d say this park is part of our community's heartbeat—it's where we connect with nature, unwind from our busy lives, and watch our children play. But half of the year, when the days are shorter, many of us are deprived of this vital community asset. By installing proper lighting, we're not just brightening pathways; we're connecting communities around Fairlands Valley Park, enhancing safety, and extending the park's welcome to every resident, every day. This isn't about luxury; it's about making sure that everyone can feel safe while using our public park.

Here is a quick overview of what lighting in Fairlands Valley Park can do for our community:
- Accident Prevention: Brighter paths mean no more slipping and tripping which makes our park safe to use for everyone. Especially for those with reduced mobility.
- After Hours: Our park doesn't close when the office does. Enjoy after-work relaxation.
- Active Travel: The park provides key routes for active travel, walking, cycling and wheeling avoiding busy roads.
- Family Friendly: Safer walks for kids after school and for evening activities.
- Dog Walkers: Evening strolls with your furry friends, stress-free.
- Football Matches: Walk back on well lit paths after an exciting match.
- Enjoy Nature: Experience the outdoors all year around. Not just on the weekend.
- Community Care: Lighting deters antisocial behaviour, keeping our park welcoming.
- Feeling Safe: No more looking over your shoulder or taking detours. Walk, run, and play without worry.
- Sustainable: Advocating for wildlife-friendly, energy-efficient solutions.

Stevenage Borough Council is currently looking into the issue of lighting in Fairlands Valley Park. I asked them a question at the Council meeting in October 2023 with the request to install lighting to make the park feel safer to use and they have started a review.

While the Council acknowledged my concerns, no commitments have been made. What I couldn’t convey to the Council was that the lighting wouldn’t just be for me but that many people would benefit from being able to see where they are going. Adding your name to this petition will help show the Council that there are many more people in Stevenage who would like lighting installed in Fairlands Valley Park.

How it will be delivered

According to Stevenage Borough Council’s petition rules, if a petition has more than 1000 signatures, this triggers a full Council debate. I have started the request to the Council to install lighting in Fairlands Valley Park and will deliver this petition as part of their review to demonstrate the widespread community support for lighting.

Six Hills Way, Stevenage SG2 0BL, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL



2024-01-04 20:42:12 +0000

Stevenage Borough Council debated our petition just before Christmas. A written summary is available on the Council website here:

The Council has unanimously approved the motion to explore lighting options for Fairlands Valley Park and what it would cost (the motion says reflective strips but the Council has agreed that all options should be explored), to consult with the Police and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust regarding community safety and ecology considerations, to explore what external funding options might be available, and to include the request of our petition in their new Green Spaces strategy and accompanying action plan.

I will stay in touch with the Council to support them in their review and to identify the paths that require lighting.

2023-12-01 17:44:42 +0000

The petition has been confirmed for debate on 20 December 2023 at the full Council meeting! As part of this, I'll be given 5 minutes to introduce the petition. I intend to share as many examples as I can to showcase how wildlife friendly lighting may benefit different groups and community members. If you would like to share your example, please get in touch! There's a contact button at the top of the page.

Meanwhile, you can still add your signature! The petition keeps up its momentum with more signatures added every day. I'll update the Council on the latest signature count as part of the debate on the 20th.

2023-11-29 09:31:34 +0000

The petition has now been formally submitted and we expect the Council to debate this at their next full meeting in December. I will update you once the debate has been formally confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Comet published another article recognising our success in getting support for this petition:

2023-11-19 18:30:37 +0000

Just two weeks since we started the petition and we are now well past the 1000 signatures. I couldn't be more proud! Thank you to everyone who signed and shared. And a special thanks to my partner and friends who helped hand out flyers all across town!

I have now asked the Council to table a debate as soon as possible. The petition will be formally submitted later in the week to allow everyone who we spoke to over the weekend (at Costellos, the football match, Bedwell community centre or at the Christmas lights switch on) to still put their signature on so they can show their support.

I've spoken to lots of people which has been incredibly valuable to get insights into how lighting could benefit different groups of people. Just today I spoke to a woman in Bedwell who lives just around the corner of Fairlands Valley Park and who told me she "hasn't been there in years" because she doesn't feel safe. Together we can change that. Thanks to you!

2023-11-19 10:46:59 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2023-11-14 21:42:57 +0000

Delighted to share that the petition is now supported by The Stevenage Striders Running Club! Their members have already actively shared the petition so I'm delighted to confirm the club is now a supporting organisation on the petition. Thank you!

2023-11-12 23:33:17 +0000

It's been a full week since starting the campaign and we're now at 75% of our goal. Amazing. Thank you to everyone for signing and sharing!

In the past week I've spoken to lots of people who care about this petition. We also have a number of local businesses who've put up a poster of the petition in their staff rooms or for their customers. If you want to hang a poster in your workplace, business or community venue, you can download a poster here (print at home):

2023-11-11 00:11:27 +0000

We had a great end to the fifth day of the campaign with an article posted in The Comet:

Thanks to this, we are now well passed the halfway point of our petition. Thank you to everyone who signed and shared! This has truly been a collective effort.

If you want to share your experience of using Fairlands Valley Park and how lighting would help you, please get in touch. I'm meeting the Council next week to discuss this and will share stories of local residents. You can get in touch via the top of the campaign page!

2023-11-10 17:20:53 +0000

500 signatures reached

2023-11-08 23:22:15 +0000

Ending the fourth evening / third day well above 400 signatures and almost near the halfway mark for the petition goal. I can't believe how fast this is has gone! Thank you to everyone for your support.

I spoke to a few more local shops today and, importantly, a few more businesses who have printed a poster for their staff rooms. And thanks to one of those friendly businesses, we now got connected with The Comet! I hope to have an update on this very soon so we can amplify our voice across town.

Keep spreading the word!

2023-11-07 22:25:27 +0000

Another day passed and we're well passed 300 signatures now. Today we spoke with a number of local businesses in Chells who all were happy to support the petition. We also went to the town centre and were very pleased to receive the support of the Geek Retreat! Keep an eye out for our poster and flyers there.

To end the day, I emailed 15 local schools and nurseries near the park to ask for support in recognition of their staff using the park as a key route to get to/from work!

2023-11-06 22:21:54 +0000

On the second evening of the campaign, my partner and I went out again to Fairlands Valley Park to speak to local people. We spoke to people walking their dogs, families going for an evening stroll, runners, cyclists, young people, and individuals enjoying an evening walk. We also went to the Roaring Meg Retail Park and spoke with businesses whose staff use the park as a main transportation route to go to and from work. At least five businesses now have flyers of the petition in their staff room in support of the campaign.

During the day, I also emailed the Councillors of Bedwell, Chells, and Shephall to request support for the campaign. I’ve received positive comments from each ward and I look forward to meeting with the Council soon (a walkabout of the park is being planned as part of my ongoing dialogue with the Council for which this petition will help strengthen the call to action).

2023-11-06 06:35:45 +0000

100 signatures reached

2023-11-05 22:59:28 +0000

Together with my partner and friends we kicked off the campaign at the fireworks display tonight. We handed out 500 flyers and spoke to lots of local people about the importance of lighting in our local park. While people tried to find their way in the dark, there were lots of nods and expressions of support for our petition. Thank you to everyone who spoke to us! Please do share this petition with your friends, colleagues, clubs, schools, family and anyone else you think should know about this petition!

2023-11-05 20:49:00 +0000

50 signatures reached