BATS have been blamed for residents being left in the dark in a new road in Stourport.

Street lighting has not been installed in an extension of Discovery Road to avoid disrupting flight paths and access points for the protected creatures.

But residents say the darkness in the road – known locally as Discovery Way and which connects Worcester Road to Severn Road– is a danger.

Worcestershire County Council says lighting was not installed as the road is in a conservation area and is a habitat for bats and other wildlife.

Worcester Road resident Esther McGilvray, 49, who uses the road, said: “It’s a risk. As a woman, I wouldn’t want to walk down there by myself and I wouldn’t want children to. It’s completely pitch-black at night, I have to carry a torch in my handbag.”

The new road link connects the main Worcester Road with Severn Road, which is the site of a proposed housing development and the new Tesco store.

Mrs McGilvray contacted Stourport town councillor Ken Henderson to find out why street lighting was not part of the original plan.

Mr Henderson said: “We asked for a street light but county council told us thatthey would have to put in a series of lighting as a legal obligation and they haven’t got the funds.”

But Derek Powell, the county council’s lighting project engineer, said that full street lighting was ruled out for ecological reasons rather than financial ones.

He said: “The area, which is near the river, is in an area of conservation and is a habitat for bats and other wildlife.

“Species of bat are protected by law and this includes the effect of artificial lighting on bat roosts, their access points and the flight paths away from the roost.

“But we were able to install street lighting at the junctions of each end of the road.

“On all new roads, we have to carefully consider the impact of lighting, in particular assessing the delicate balancing act between energy conservation and the safety of residents.”