A pitch-black footpath where street lights are constantly broken by vandals has become a no-go zone, say anxious residents.
Exposed wires stick out of the ground as the damaged bollards lie on the ground on the walkway which connects Derwent Way to Cherry Blossom Way in Aylesham, near Dover.
Four posts along the stretch have been kicked over while others are wonky and unstable, leaving parts of the footpath in darkness.
The bollards were installed by developer Persimmon Homes when it built new properties in the village.
The idea was to make the route safer to walk through at night, but residents say the path is still so dark, they avoid using it.
The lights have been fixed before but Cllr Jamie Pout (Lab), deputy leader of Dover District Council, is now calling for taller and stronger lights to replace them to make them less vulnerable to vandalism.
The ward member for Aylesham, Eythorne and Shepherdswell said: “There is a long-standing issue with the lighting, and back in 2018 the parish council raised the issue that the lighting was potentially quite dangerous.
“Since then we have had repeated issues.
“The bollards end up on the floor, wires are exposed, and it's dangerous for people with children and dogs.
“I send photos to the developers on a regular basis.”
Katie Duddigan, who has lived nearby for five years, says she no longer uses the path because of how dark it is now many of the lights are broken.
The 33-year-old said: “Kids think it is funny to smash them in the middle of the night.
“I stopped using the path because the lights were broken, I started going the longer way where I knew it was all lit up.
“We got a letter once saying they were going to install proper lampposts to stop the issue but it has been more than a year and we have heard nothing.
“It’s something I would support - it needs to be lit because it is pitch black down there without the lights.
“There is also a lot of dog poo on the path which is a problem.“
Persimmons previously leafletted about 60 homes in the area to see if there was support to replace the bollards with lampposts.
However, not everyone in the area was supportive of the idea.
Cllr Pout continued: “One or two people sent in negative responses and I can completely appreciate people might not want street lights outside their houses, but for the vast majority of people this is not an issue that will directly affect them.
“They should be designed in a way the lights don't spread into their gardens. This would make the path much more user-friendly for everyone.
“During the day the bollards are fine but at night they are quite glaring and dazzling, they cast big shadows and it's quite dangerous.
“Then you walk into a dark spot so your eyes have to adjust and walking along the path can be uncomfortable.
“It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, which is unacceptable.
“Some good quality street lighting would make sure the developer doesn't have these ongoing repair costs and that this path is suitable for everyone.”
Sally Cottle, who moved into the area in 2019, said: “I don't use the footpath at night but I do use it during the day.
“The ones on the floor have been like that for ages, they don't work and they've not been touched.
“The dog poo along there is an issue too; people need to clean up after their animals.
“I think the lights could be slightly taller so they don't get broken as much. I would probably use the path more often if they were fixed.
“When the homes were built, everyone moaned because it was too dark around here, so they put in the lights, then a lot of people complained they didn't want them.
“It would be good to find a way to please everyone.”
Resident Stacey Austin says she has never seen the light outside her home working in the year she has lived there.
The 31-year-old said: “It would be nice to see them working because we don't tend to walk the dog when it starts getting dark because walking down there in the dark is hard.
“I'm worried about the kids because there are exposed wires and I wouldn't want them getting an electric shock.
“I'd like to see something done to stop them being vandalised.”
A spokesman for Persimmon Homes said: “We are currently in the process of replacing the street lights on Derwent Way on behalf of residents.
“We know how important they are for the local community and this is why vandalism to these lights, which help to keep people safe, is so disappointing.”