The lampenproletariat

New lamp (left), for old 

Lamposts across the area are being ripped up and replaced with new ones as part of a 25-year PFI scheme developed by Lewisham and Croydon Councils. For the most part, the lamps, while not revolutionary, represent an improvement over their predecessors.

What do you think?

61 comments:

Judge Rudy said...

i personally don't understand why the entire thing has to be changed...

surely it would be more cost effective to simply change the fitting to a new version... as far as i can see, a pole sticking out of the ground is a pole sticking out of the ground, why change the whole thing....??

Ali said...

As soon as I hear 'PFI' my hackles go up, but if they are better than those 2-watt bulbs that don't help pedestrians, and are out of the middle of the pavements, that's at least something. You're just left with asking how much they're costing C Tax payers...

Anon said...

I'm with you Judge Rudy, it's a typical Lewisham thing. Don't maintain something, spend millions replacing it with something new and the people rejoice and the cycle begins again.

Ben said...

Think they are great but a bit confused as to why they are being left on during the day...

roysavage said...

how many people does it take to change a bulb?

roysavage said...

Agreed. I am 100% sure there are new more efficient bulbs that would fit in the existing housing. This is just stupid and idiotic, somoene not bothering to do their job. it is also less expensive to change the fitting than buying a new lamp, the wiring is pretty much the same.

Monkeyboy said...

Some major assumptions being made, one reason is that street lighting has to cover the pavement as well as the road to conform to latest standards so are set further back, some lamp posts are not structurally sound, all lamps will be remotely monitored etc.... Whether its good value for money is another matter. Longterm arrangements can be a good idea but both parties are locked together. Get the terms wrong and one or other can be screwed.

barryls said...

No doubt their more energy efficient, but it doesnt add much to the architecture of the streetscape. In Crofton Park we used to have the more ornate old style lamps which have now been replaced by these "functional" ones. Ho hum.

Jimbo2014 said...

But why do they have to be so ugly?

Ugh said...

Ah PFI that fantastic system of creative accounting where the tax payer pays many, many times what the cost of something is over a fixed period and then doesn't actually own it.

BRYAN POPE said...

hope they can do TYRWHITT ROAD SE4 1QE AS WE COULD DO WITH MORE LIGHTING HERE

LampLighter said...

Sadly, I know something about street lighting, although I have not seen these new Lewisham lamps yet. Contrary to popular belief, the new lamps will probably be less efficient, technically, than the old ones.
The lamps from the 60s and 70s are mostly low pressure sodium and recognisable by their strong orange glow, whereas the newer ones tend to be high pressure sodium and are distinctly pinker. The low pressure variety are more efficient, in that they produce more light for a given energy input (around 200 lumens per watt), but since they emit over a very narrow spectrum, fail to illuminate colours well. The high pressure sort are less efficient (typically about 100-120 lm/w) but show colours better.
Low pressure lamps also are less light polluting (better for skywatchers, animals and insomniacs) but the new lamps will have better housings with full cut off above the horizontal, and so the amount of wasted light will be much less, thus mitigating the efficiency loss and pollution.

cllr Alan Smith said...

Just so you all know. I'm the "they" who opted for new posts, so le me explain why.
1 Many of our lamp posts are life expired, being steel or cast iron they ate corroding below the ground.
2. The regulations regarding positions have changed, so the posts cannot, for the most part go back in the same place.
3. Even if we could put them in the same place, it would mean turning of whole streets while the lamps were changed, and nobody wants that.
4. It.is not just a case of changing the bulbs. The ignitor and control circuits are different. The new heads are low energy, low light pollution and wildlife friendly.
5.where possible we keep the old posts, providing they are safe and compliment with current regs.
I hope this helps banish some of the myths and rumours that are kicking around.

Monkeyboy said...

Unfortunately myths and hearsay have traction, just look at the tabloid front pages and screaming editorials.

Natalie said...

That's my house! And I hadn't even noticed the new light until I saw it on here...must become more observant!

Judge Rudy said...

i would like to point out that there appears to be no ground works around the existing post in that picture so no way of knowing that it has corroded below ground...

it also seems quite strange that these lamps all reached the same state of corrosion at the same time regardless of the local conditions (water content) of the ground surrounding them...

yes, i agree new posts need to be nearer the road, but this rule shouldn't mean that lamp posts which have been in place for (lets say) half a century or more suddenly need to be moved... if thats the case, surely all of the trees that are planted along side roads in similar places also need to be chopped down and replanted closer to the road...

and as for the control circuits, i am quite sure the existing control equipment could be removed from the original lamps and new stuff fitted....

i am quite sure that due to sub contractors being used so often for 'council' works, they tend to generate unnecessary work to boost their own pockets by claiming 'yea, thats at the end of its life and needs replacing' even though not a single issue has ever been raised regarding it...

recycling doesn't always mean using things that are thrown away and making them into something new, it can also mean using whats already there

Monkeyboy said...

when you do a civil assesment you dont neccessarilly do every asset. you can do a sample and apply standard assement criteria, its done all the time. and "quiet sure"? really? you may be right but replacing rather than patching a old item is not always the best, sweating the assets they call it. it can store up greater cost down the line.

Judge Rudy said...

okay, i'll put it this way, on the subject of lighting, if a bulb blows in your home, after its been in use for (say) 9 months, do you go round and replace every other bulb because you suspect they might also be coming to the end of their life??

no, (you are now thinking) 'that would be stupid'....

why do we let people from outside the council, who are not the ones spending the money, but the ones recieving it, decide that yes, we will replace all of the lamps (or most of them) because of the 1000 posts, we found that 1in ten was sort of possibly likely to fall over in ten years, even though there is no problem now...

surely, if the post in the above picture was in such condition it needed to be replaced, why is it still there?? if it was unsafe and needing to be removed, i would have removed it straight away....

Monkeyboy said...

your house isnt a borough full of lamp posts. why is it still there, because up to now no one felt it needed replacement, now they do. preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance, scheduled maintenance, reactive maintenance are all ways of looking after things. personally i thing a local authority has a duty of care and shouldnt wait until a lamp post is on the verge of collapse. its not unusual, you replace timing belts based on life not individual condition.

and i cant believe im discussing lamp posts.

Judge Rudy said...

no, you are right, my house isn't a borough full of lamp posts, thankfully, my light bulbs only cost 60p and i still don't go around replacing the whole lot when one or two blow.... but removing and replacing a perfectly serviceable lamp post costs thousands, even if only ½ of those that are changed don't actually need it, the price easily runs into millions for needless work.....

Rose Bud said...

I'd settle for a functioning light on the station foot-bridge leading to Mantle Road. It only seems to work sporadically.

Alex said...

In response to why the lights seem to be on permanently I was led to believe (from the contractors letter) that the lamps were subject to a period of testing and may be on for prolonged periods initially. Where I live the new column went in weeks ago but hasn't been connected yet and we're still stuck with the old one. One thing I have noticed is the amount of time it takes to fill in the hole which leaves the footpath unusable for a period - unacceptable! I'm guessing it might be a classic case of one man to dig a hole, another to put the column, another to connect and finally man number one to come back and fill in the hole...sigh.


In the photo used for the article the new streetlamp has been positioned at the front edge of the footpath whereas I thought that one of the aspects of the replacements was to put them at the back of the footpath so they didn't become an obstacle? In this case perhaps, as the old lamp post was already at the back of the footpath and, taking into account someones earlier comment about not being able to put new lamp posts in the same position they have taken the decision to position at the front.


A positive thing out of this is that these new lamp posts do appear to be brighter (and whiter) and make walking along footpaths safer when it gets dark.

Jon james said...

Why couldnt we have had the victorian looking ones that southwark use. Just cross the tracks and head towards Nunhead and you'll see them there. Thought the council was meant to be upholding conservation standards - there own guidelines recommend the victorian ones for this area.

Jimbo2014 said...

Those are just reserved for posh neighbourhoods. Poorer areas have to make do with brutalist looking modern ones.

Chris Wheal said...

When they take away the old lamppost, I intend to stick "missing" posters of it on all the neighbourhood cats.

Headhunter said...

Really? You hadn't at least noticed that we haven't been able to walk down the pavement of Manor Avenue for over a week now as there have been plastic barricades in the way?!

Headhunter said...

Well I like the new lamps. They're not exactly a revolutionary design like the ones in Southwark (specifically designed street by street by designers) but in these cash strapped times it's probably not prudent to spend money on design. At least they don't look like something left over from a 1970s dual carriageway bypass as the old ones did.


The light the new lamps shed is whiter and makes things clearer, the pool of light is directed over the road and pavement rather than the road, pavement, your front garden and any rooms in the front of the house. Previously our bedrooms at the front of the flat were largely illuminated in orange overnight, now there is barely any light spillage inside. Much better.


I can understand too that the old ones, if made of cast iron are probably coming to the end of their lives and I completely understand that it's would be cost ineffective to asses each individual lampost before replacing it... Ridiculous idea

dimlit said...

That light is ridiculous. So many people cross that bridge too, in darkness. Who can we report this too?

bright spark said...

They really are not elegant and being black actually stand out more. Some streets seem to be losing their lovely Edwardian? columns. That's my idea of vandalism. Rather like the 1960s concrete ones on Geoffrey Road too.



I thought the progressive thing to do was have sensor lights so the whole place isn't unnecessarily lit all night. Is there any chance Lewisham has been that progressive?


Do they ever consult on these things, or is it just a case of we all get to pay in due course?

Tamsin said...

There'll be a mathematical algorithm for it. Like replacing the blown bulbs on the Albert Bridge. Complicated balance of material costs, the expense of man-power and acceptable levels of failure.

Woodman said...

You see article after article pass by on this site about all sorts of interesting new businesses and things to do, which get zero comments. It takes something about lamp-posts to really get the good people of Brockley excited!

Monkeyboy said...

Reminds me of the great "Speedicars" sign bust up. That was bloody

Jon james said...

Shudder.....

But the sign was wrong. 8-)

dim wit said...

The concrete ones on Geoffrey Road are literally crumbling, though! If you take a look at the bend where the down-post turns the corner to meet the lamp, several of the posts on the street have gaps where it looks small chunks of concrete have fallen off... (Ok, when I say several, I mean a couple at the Brockley Cross end and the one outside my house - I haven't checked the others). Now that I've noticed it, I can't help but give them a wide berth when walking down the street in case I get hit by falling concrete...

Headhunter said...

Brutalist is the new Victorian

Headhunter said...

They do seem to be taking their time to get the pavements back up and running. I was off work on Monday and a guy used some kind of earth flattening machine (it looked like) on the ground by the new lampost outside our place for about an hour and then left again... At that speed it'll take them another month to get the pavements open again....

Headhunter said...

Yes but some interesting new business is not necessarily particularly controversial... It's a new business - cafe or shop or whatever. It may be a great addition to the area but what is there to say about it until you go there and see it?

Brockley Jon said...

Ditto here in Honor Oak, Barryls. They are getting rid of some rather nice decorative ones and replacing them with black blobs on sticks. We wrote to Skanksa or whatever they are called asking them to tell us what the new ones would look like (this was before they had started putting them in) and were ignored. I have decided I have bigger battles.

Tamsin said...

Exactly. Where this site is so good - a balance of useful information and ding-dong discussion. That there are no comments do not mean that the original post hasn't been read and the links explored.

Anon said...

But the new lamppost in the photo is set nearer to the road.

Anon said...

@cllr Alan Smith
Surely the posts are worked on during the day, so the lamps don't have to be on.
Does it mean the mismatched lamps along 'The Promenade' in Catford will be modified or will it continue to be 5 'gas' style lamps, 3 sixties style, one concrete and a number of grey Lewisham urban design?
With the posts due to be set back, will it mean more posts on the pavements for traffic signs that were attached to the old lampposts?

Anon said...

@cllr Alan Smith
While you are here, what about at the same time do an audit of signs either no longer required or that can be put on the same pole or lampposts?
Re 'new' regulations, take a look at a new sign outside St. Mary's school, which is supported by two poles, one of which is in the middle of the pavement. The sign points vehicles towards Lewisham Hospital car park BUT it's the exit! Which is one way!!!
Be like the Mayor of Lewisham in the 1920's who was prepared to roll up his sleeves and get the job done.

Dannys1234 said...

@ cllr Alan Smith

I echo the reply from Anon re signage. You've just change the lamp posts on the North end of Shell Road SE13. Wouldn't this have been a perfect opportunity to remove the ridiculous 'parking on the pavement is encouraged' signs? Instead you've installed brand new ones.


The situation on this road for anyone who choses walk anywhere is a joke. There are no parking bays marked and yet pavement parking is encouraged = a free for all for inconsiderate drivers. A review of the situation would be great. Thanks!

Cllr Alan Smith said...

Wow this is running isn't it, Monkey Boy is right about the assessment of the posts condition, it was done partly by sampling and partly by knowing the posts life expectancy. Checking each one by digging around it would be prohibitively expensive, and ineffective as much of the corrosion occurs inside the post, so you would have to take it out to check it. After all, Judge Rudy, when you change a light bulb, you don't account for your time to do it, if you had to pay a call out charge to an electrician every time you changed a bulb you probably would change them all to limit the call outs. Equally changing one post at a time as it fails is ludicrously expensive, we have done that for years, so we have cost comparisons.
And as for PFI's, well i'm no fan but for some time it has been the only way to raise the capital needed for these kind of infrastructure projects where there is no revenue stream to pay the borrowing costs. PFI's like any contract can be good or bad, Lewisham Hospitals recent tribulations is a fine example. The South London Healthcare (Queen Mary's) PFI is attrocious, but lets not forget that the Riverside Wing at Lewisham Hospital was built with a PFI, and Lewisham health care is not in debt, and provides good services. The deal we negotiated with Skanska is working well, with much of the cost being paid for from reduced energy and maintenance costs, and at the end of the PFI we will own the assets.

Dannys1234 said...

off topic I know, but are the council waiting for casualties before installing any form of safe crossing point across Hilly Fields Crescent into Hill Fields park? You must be aware of the volume and speed of traffic on that road and that there is a school in the park?

Anon said...

To inspect the inside of a lamppost surely all you need is a CCTV attached to a ferret.

Did the council consider switches for residential roads like companies have in toilets, where the lights switch off or dim if there is no movement? The lights would be interlinked so you'd only need a sensors in a small number of lampposts.

Headhunter said...

Yes, that junction is a bit hairy sometimes, there should be some kind of traffic calming, cars whizz left round the corner into Hilly Fields Cres from Tressillian, often spilling over to the wrong side of the road, round what is essentially a blind corner into a narrow street, where kids etc cross to the park and back.


Also if I'm trying to turn right from HFC into Tressillian, most vehicles cut the corner turning right from Tress into HFC quite dramatically which is scary when you're on the bike, I've almost been hit a few times.


Then there're the mini humps which drivers are quite comfortable suddenly swerving onto the wrong side of the road into your path to avoid so that they don't have to slow down....

Woodman said...

Yes, another vote for doing something about this. I hate crossing that road pushing the buggy back from nursery.

NAT said...

A convex mirror at the park entrance would be a good start.

NAT said...

Are the Edwardian cast iron posts to go to the scrapman? Any chance of getting one for our garden? Who should I approach to preserve a little of 190zero,s London?

terrencetrentderby said...

This takes regressive NIMBYism to a new level

Judge Rudy said...

you can check the state of the underground portion simply by tapping it with a hammer... if the base is still solid, the post will have a clear ring like a tuning fork held against a table, any excessive rust or instability below ground would be heard by a duller thud as the energy you put in by hitting it with the hammer is transmitted into the ground through vibration in the underground part...


this used to be a pretty standard test, the stability of the lamp (which is the issue caused by rust underground)can easily be checked without digging the pavement up.... but i suppose there are heath and safety issues with asking people to bend over a bit and tap stuff with a hammer...

Judge Rudy said...

you can check the state of the underground portion simply by tapping it with a hammer... if the base is still solid, the post will have a clear ring like a tuning fork held against a table, any excessive rust or instability below ground would be heard by a duller thud as the energy you put in by hitting it with the hammer is transmitted into the ground through vibration in the underground part...

this used to be a pretty standard test, the stability of the lamp (which is the issue caused by rust underground)can easily be checked without digging the pavement up.... but i suppose there are heath and safety issues with asking people to bend over a bit and tap stuff with a hammer...

i just think its a massive waste of money to change perfectly good lamp posts in the same way as when i drive past a wind farm on a still day, i think of the millions of wasted pounds that went into building something that only works sometimes.... but thats another story...

Judge Rudy said...

it will be interesting to see exactly how many of the posts removed are actually severely compromised by rust below ground.... once the posts have been recovered and taken away, i would personally like to have access to look at them and see for myself exactly how many do have something catastrophic enough going on below ground to warrant mass replacement...

i'll bet the majority of them are absolutely fine...

sensorman said...

It would have to a be a clever sensor indeed that can discriminate between movement caused by the wind in the trees, rain or foxes scavenging or any other movement over such a large area. Sensors also go wrong. Some lights remain on all day because the light sensor has failed for some reason.

Anon and on said...

The comments boards on here used to be much better. More populated, more banter, and way more interesting. Now it's stuffy and fairly dull. Since the comments got shifted to this disqus system, most posts have tumbleweed blowing through them. I guess Nick had his reasons to change but most people can't be bothered to sign up or enter their email, the comments themselves take a long time to load. It's a shame, I miss the bawdiness of it all...

Brockley Nick said...

You don't have to sign up or enter their email. And sadly, the trolls made the old system unmanageable and destructive. I don't have the time or inclination to mod as I used to. The only difference between this system and the old one is that IP addresses can be blocked. Trolls obviously get scared when they have to be accountable for their opinions. No loss.

Headhunter said...

You don't have to enter an email address every time you comment? How? Even if you tick "I'd rather post as a guest" it still requires and email addy

Brockley Nick said...

You can make one up if you are paranoid and lazy. Or if you're registered, it automatically recognises you.

Holunder said...

We have just come back from holiday and noticed that the new lights are shining right into our front AND side bedrooms and making the street look like its a really sunny day at night - is this really necessary? We live in a quiet road with hardly any traffic after 9pm. I will definitely be calling Skanska. This is just so wrong.

Magic Flugelhorn said...

That light on the footbridge has been like that since we moved to Brockley in 2004!!

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