Angry residents say criminals are being allowed “to win” after benches were removed from Victorian-style shelters regularly smashed apart by yobs.
Pensioners have been spotted struggling to find anywhere to sit along the seafront, after Canterbury City Council took the seats out of the structures in Herne Bay.
It comes after the shelters' panels and window panes were broken yet again last month.
Officials from the city council – which shells out thousands of pounds on the repairs – believe removing the benches will reduce vandalism as “it makes it less easy to congregate”.
But local Gary Garbett argues the changes to the two Central Parade shelters, positioned between the Bandstand and the town’s pier, only punish those in need of a shaded seat.
“I’m miffed about this because I think the council has vandalised them more than the vandals themselves,” the 62-year-old said.
“I find it so bizarre. I don’t understand why they’re letting the vandals win. They’re hitting the people who want to use the seating, not the vandals.
“All people can do is sit in the sunshine along this part of the seafront.
“The seats should be back in the shelters, definitely.”
This comes after Mr Garbett, who volunteers with Age UK, witnessed a number of pensioners having difficutly finding a seat in shade along the promenade last Monday, when temperatures hit highs of 35C in Kent.
He even heard many of them “asking where the seats were”.
And Victoria Jarvis, from Tankerton, says she was left in disbelief by the local authority’s decision.
“What sort of society are we living in where we allow the criminals to get the better of our towns?” she added.
“My friend and I who enjoy walking and sitting in the shelters all through the seasons are being dictated to by yobs.”
Town centre councillor Andrew Cook previously revealed authority chiefs could decide to remove the trouble-prone structures, if they continue to be bashed apart by hooligans.
He also suggested another way to end the scourge could be to transform them into kiosks, reasoning they could be “boarded up” by vendors overnight.
But the Tory argued the latest changes are “probably what residents would like to see best” out of the three options.
And city council spokesman Rob Davies told KentOnline this week: “We share the frustration of residents and visitors regarding the vandalism on the seafront that resulted in the decision to remove the benches at the shelters.
"It's very sad that this thoughtless behaviour by a minority of sad, selfish individuals has caused this and we totally condemn it.
"The evidence does show, however, that removing benches reduces the amount of vandalism to the shelters because it makes it less easy to congregate.
"We will be looking at alternative locations along the seafront for these benches so that people can continue to enjoy a place to sit down."