Schoolchildren have launched a campaign for more lighting in a city park.

They say it is necessary to make them feel safer on the way home from school - but the council says it has "no plans" to install more lighting.

Students and their parents from Hove Park School, Cardinal Newman, and Varndean in Brighton gathered in Hove Park last week to show how dark the area can be after school, especially in winter, by using their phone torches to illuminate the path ahead.

But Brighton and Hove City Council said keeping parks dark is essential for biodiversity and to protect bats and insects.

The Argus: They used their phone torches to light the pathThey used their phone torches to light the path (Image: Citizens UK)

Students have been sharing their experiences at parks in and around the city, which are sometimes the only places they can meet after school. In one instance a Muslim girl had her hijab pulled off her head on the way home.

The community signed a letter addressed to the council. It read:

We the undersigned, students, parents, and residents of Brighton and Hove are acting together to make our collective voice heard.

We want to work with the council to ensure our members, friends and neighbours feel safe in the city they love.

We are seeking a constructive relationship with the local authority to turn our needs into a reality. Will you meet with us to discuss the safety of our members and our proposals around lighting in our city parks?

The students gathered under the banner of the Brighton and Hove Citizens' Safer Spaces campaign last week.

Leaders of the student bodies at each school have spent several months conducting meetings and comparing stories with their pupils, relating to their feelings of safety in Brighton and Hove.

Tom Coldrick, a Year 11 student at Hove Park, said: "My bus stop to get home is on the other side of Hove Park. It’s so dark in the park at night, and even after school in the winter, that I and many of my fellow students don’t feel safe crossing it.

"Because of this, we have to walk about a mile around the park to get to the bus stop or walk home every day. Even doing that means that we are walking in darkness for quite a while.”

The Argus: The council has said keeping parks dark is essential for bats and other animalsThe council has said keeping parks dark is essential for bats and other animals

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said he "understand people's concerns about safety" in parks but there were no plans to put additional lighting in them.

He said: "Keeping them dark for wildlife such as bats, insects and roosting birds is essential to protect biodiversity. 

“This is seen nationally as good practice. Introducing new lights in parks could run contrary to national planning policies. 

“Hove Park already has a lit-up path through the middle along the Droveway. 

“We would encourage people to use well-lit routes around parks rather than walking through them at night. 

“Any crime should be reported immediately to the police."