What is town lighting?

town lighting heritage lighting

“Town lighting” is the phrase that is used when a variety of lights and lighting techniques are combined to illuminate our towns and cities. Lighting is a fundamental part of our lives and is something all of us use on a daily basis but that often goes unnoticed! In town centres lighting is a very important feature as it is needed to support the character of the town by illuminating particular architectural features while creating a safe and secure environment, encouraging social interaction and helping to direct and orientate the general public. Town lighting can be anything from streetlights and bollards to park lights and spotlights to light up a particular feature point, and lighting for thoroughfares and public areas.

Why is it important?

Having the correct town lighting is important as it can influence how we perceive and even behave in a space and can affect the mood, morale, performance, safety and security of an area. Currently, around 50% of modern life takes place after dark and in the UK one in nine employees are night shift workers. This is increasing every year and means that the need for sufficient town lighting is essential to keep people safe. Not only this, but the effects of Covid-19 and the increase of people working from home and looking to get out and about for a walk and a cycle, after ‘normal working hours’ brings a need for safer and more secure outdoor spaces to be created.

Planning town lighting

Properly planned town lighting is essential when aiming to create a safe and secure space alongside the right aesthetic for our towns and cities. The first part of planning lighting for any town is to ask what the space is being used for now, and what it may be used for in the future. Once this has been established these aspects can be agreed and worked into a lighting scheme that fits with the town or city.

  • The quantity of light required
  • The colour and the brightness of light needed
  • The direction of light

Once the type of lights have been decided and, depending on what the space is being used for, there are three simple steps to follow in the next stages of planning a town’s lighting.

  1. The first is to plan the lights to ensure they provide ambient illumination for general orientation in the given space. For example, if you are looking to light up a park, these lights would go around the perimeter of the area, and set the ambience desired.
  2. The second step is to ensure that there is task illumination for lighting up the more local, general area of the space. This would include lighting up areas such as the paths and areas next to benches for the general public to sit on.
  3. The third step is to ensure there are lights for accent illumination that highlight special objects that may be of interest to the public. For example, you could place these lights around a fountain or bandstand in the middle of the park, or a sculpture in the middle of a town square.


tower of london town lightingMore sophisticated town lighting design can include the use of lights as a piece of art in a certain area. For example, placing different coloured lights around particular plants and trees in a park to create a different ambience for visitors as they make their way through the space.

At William Sugg and Co. Ltd, we offer a wide variety of lights to choose from to help create that traditional, authentic feel in your space. From lighting up buildings and monuments to illuminating seafronts and local parks, our team of experts would be happy to talk through your needs and offer you a variety of options for your town lighting plan.