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Fears raised after it was found a third of lights in Dane John Gardens in Canterbury do not work

People living in a Canterbury park blighted by violent crime fear more people could be attacked in its darkened corners as a third of its lights no longer work.

Dane John Gardens - the scene of a number of assaults in recent years - is typically illuminated by 35 street lamps lining its paths and the city wall above.

Dane John Gardens in Canterbury. Picture: John Hippisley
Dane John Gardens in Canterbury. Picture: John Hippisley

But with 13 now out of action, residents are concerned it could leave people vulnerable to future attacks.

Chair of The Friends of Dane John, Yvonne Hill, says some areas are pitch black.

“Frankly, I find it a frightening experience to walk alone along that part of the wall," she said.

"It’s a major safety issue, encouraging crime and potential injury.

"It is a disgrace that something which is fundamental to the safety and wellbeing of the public has been allowed to be neglected."

Friends of Dane John chair Yvonne Hill
Friends of Dane John chair Yvonne Hill

Mrs Hill registered the problem with Canterbury City Council on behalf of the Friends of Dane John and then raised the issue with Kent County Council.

The St Mildred’s Area Community Society shares the same concerns and has urged action be taken as soon as possible.

Acting chair Andrew Rootes said: "It is unacceptable that 13 of the lights in Dane John are not working.

"The paths through this open space are among the principal pedestrian routes into the city from the east station and Wincheap.

"The park will therefore be one of the first sights seen by visitors and among the last when they leave. It sends out an unwelcome message about the sort of city Canterbury is."

Police in Dane John Gardens. Picture: Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Police in Dane John Gardens. Picture: Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Canterbury City Council spokesman Rob Davies says many of the lights are "very old and are beyond repair".

"We do have plans for permanent upgrades to lighting in the park, paid for from developer money from the St Mary Bredin development," he said.

"This is alongside other improvements, such as a new play area and upgraded footpaths.

"Until we can progress this, however, we are looking at options for temporary lighting in the park.

"Given the site is a Scheduled Monument, we will need to consult with various organisations including Historic England, as well as keeping local groups such as the Friends of the Dane John updated.

"While these are quite complex issues and there is no quick fix, we understand the importance of this and are working to resolve the matter as soon as is practically possible."

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