ONLY 16 per cent of Knutsford locals feel safe walking through the Moor at night, a survey has revealed, as residents petition to have lighting and CCTV installed in the area.

Sadie Sherran and Gemma Jackson are petitioning for Cheshire East Council to install the safety features after a survey they created revealed both men and women were wary of walking through the Moor alone.

The survey arose after Sadie planned to hold a vigil at the Moor for Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old from South London who was walking home at night in March when she went missing - her body was later found and a murder investigation launched.

Sadie explained: “The police didn’t allow the vigil to go ahead because of Covid restrictions.

“We thought the vigil was all well and good to spread awareness but it wouldn’t change anything.

“We then thought it would be a good idea to think about the Moor, because that is a place where we would both feel uncomfortable walking alone.

“We asked around and found that both men and women felt wary walking through it.”

Sadie and Gemma approached Friends of the Moor with their idea for a petition, a group of volunteers who provide a link between the community and the council, which owns the Moor.

The group was in support of the idea and said a survey would help to gain responses to put forward to the council.

According to the survey of 361 people, while 95.6 per cent feel safe at the Moor during the day, only 16.3 per cent feel safe at the Moor at night.

Of those who completed the survey, 95 per cent of people support more lighting and 89.6 per cent support CCTV.

Of 343 people who answered the question, 72 per cent feel unsafe due to the dark paths, while 66.5 per cent feel unsafe due to gangs and large groups of people.

The survey also revealed that 46.8 per cent of people said if CCTV and more lighting was installed they would be more likely to walk through the Moor

“I’d like to get more people doing the survey to get a varied response, as any investment will be for the good of the whole community,” Sadie said.

And she stressed that the issues raised are not just specific to women, and neither have the concerns only been brought about in light of the Sarah Everard case.

“There were men who had said they had been assaulted walking through the Moor,” Sadie explained.

“Some of the survey comments said people were told from a young age not to walk through there at night.”

Adam Keppel-Green, chairperson of Friends of the Moor, added: “Friends of the Moor exists to be the community voice for users of the Moor, so we were pleased to have Sadie attend our recent meeting to discuss this important issue.

“We support the installation of CCTV on the Moor to increase safety for users and passers through and have contacted the CCTV Manager at Cheshire East Council to find out how we can make this happen.

“We are also keen to ensure that people feel safe walking to and from the Moor and will work with the community to assess the need and locations for additional lighting.”

A Cheshire East Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have been approached with a request to provide CCTV cameras and additional lighting at the Moor.

“Discussions about this request are ongoing. However, there are set criteria, legislation and codes of practice which need to be considered during an assessment process.

“The council wishes to see all its residents feel safe when walking in public places, either at night or during the day, and takes seriously any concerns expressed.”