WOMEN and children in Rooksdown are risking their lives by running across a busy road than taking a pitch-black pedestrian bridge for fear of being attacked.

Hampshire County Council has told the residents that they would not install a streetlight because Rooksdown “has a low crime rate”.

The response has come as a shock for the residents who have been worried about the pedestrian bridge over the A339 at the Roman Road roundabout which is “so dark in the night” that one “cannot see a person standing beside them”.

According to residents, women and children in the area would rather risk their lives running across the A339 than use the bridge for fear of being attacked or worse.

The council’s inaction comes amidst a rising number of violence against women in the recent past. On Thursday, a former Met police officer was sentenced for life in jail for kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard. Another woman Sabina Nessa, a primary school teacher, was attacked and killed while walking through a southeast London street on September 17.

Jen Gick, a Rooksdown resident who has been campaigning to get a streetlight for the bridge, has now created an online petition demanding action from the authorities.

Speaking to the Gazette, Ms Gick said the council is waiting for someone to be attacked there before a light is installed.

“We can prevent a possibly horrible crime from taking place by just installing one light,” Ms Gick said.

“It is pitch black at night. You cannot see the stairs, the ramp or even someone standing directly beside you. Hampshire council have said the crime rates aren’t high enough to put a light there. The Rooksdown side is blocked by the large trees of the Spinney so the stairs and ramps can’t be seen by the houses nearby or any cars on the road.

“They say that there is enough lighting that comes through when the trees are trimmed down. But the problem is these trees are Spinneys which are protected. On one side you get some light, but on the other side, the trees completed block it. And we don’t want the Spinneys taken down because they are gorgeous.”

Basingstoke Gazette: The pedestrian bridge in RooksdownThe pedestrian bridge in Rooksdown

When the Gazette contacted the Hampshire County Council regarding the matter, a spokesperson said the council is aware of the local concerns.

The spokesperson added: “The Highways team have visited the site and have identified that there are some nearby trees that are currently blocking the light from the existing streetlight that is located near the base of the bridge.

"These will be trimmed back at the earliest opportunity and this should make a noticeable improvement.”

Graham Clarke, the admin of the Rooksdown Residents Community Group, has also been supporting Ms Gick in her campaign.

Mr Clarke said it is so dark at night that people struggle to see a foot in front of them.

The need for the streetlight has strengthened now because of the changing season.

“It will soon be dark starting at 3pm, students will have to cross this potentially dangerous bridge five times a week to get home from school,” Ms Gick said.

“Just putting a light there will make a huge difference to everyone who uses the bridge or even knows someone who does. Something simple like this could literally save someone’s life.”

To see the online petition and sign on it, visit https://www.change.org/p/hampshire-county-council-install-a-light-on-the-pedestrian-bridge-over-the-a339