Heritage Lighting or contemporary lighting?

In street lighting many locations in the UK are classed as “heritage” or “conservation” areas, this can also be stipulated by the UNESCO world heritage sites such as the Derwent Valley Mills in Derbyshire. These areas of course have existing street lighting and new street lighting schemes within them.

When deciding on the direction of the street lighting scheme and what equipment to use how would we decide to light the scheme? For example the shambles in York is one the best examples of a medieval street that remain in the UK or a new build scheme with modern architecture in a “heritage” area?

Example 1 the shambles is currently lit with a mixture of box style Victorian lanterns and bowl type Victorian style lanterns wall mounted on the structures. The point I find about this type of scheme is that when the majority of these buildings were built when civic street lighting wasn’t a thing and was then subsequently lit over the last century. I believe that if this was to be lit again that a wall mounted scheme would be the best option due to services and limited locations to locate columns.

Then to decide the equipment to use, could some camouflaged lanterns be used that could light the street scene without being overtly visible? This is certainly viable and can be sourced through various manufacturers. Though with the Shambles being lit with these heritage lanterns for so long have they also become part of the street scene? It could definitely be argued and ultimately it’s a decision to be made by the local authority, civic societies and the residents of the street.

Example 2 the new build is more of an issue that has been ongoing for many years. Many new builds within “heritage” areas have modern architecture surrounded by older buildings of differing eras. By and large these have been installed using the Victorian box or bowl style lanterns though some have had modern contemporary lanterns and columns installed. I would say that if an upmarket product is to be used the architecture of the street scene should decide the equipment used.

The local authority should engage with both the local civic societies and conservation offices to decide the most in keeping lantern. I would always suggest using modern lanterns and columns if it is a total new build with modern architecture,  it will then have a more relevant street scene and in keeping lighting scheme.

Heritage or conservation lighting is a subjective issue and ever evolving issue, there is plenty of options across the industry to get a great lighting scheme.