A councillor is furious that the lights are to go out on a well-used rural footpath.

Tory councillor John Taylor is angry that the half-mile footpath in Stretchgate between Shelley and Shepley is to have around 40 lighting bollards removed.

Kirklees Council only surfaced and installed the bollards in 2020, making the footpath one of the best in the district and the envy of many communities.

But over the last three years the council has had to spend almost £5,000 to repair vandal-hit bollards – and now says it can’t afford to keep making the repairs.

The council says budget pressures mean further repairs are no longer viable and the bollards will be removed.

Clr Taylor (Kirkburton) said the council was being short-sighted and removing the bollards made absolutely no sense.

“It’s a decision that doesn’t make sense on any level and it flies in the face of at least two of the council’s priorities,” he said.

“These lighting bollards were installed to address a safety issue, especially for women and girls. This footpath is used as a route to and from Shepley Station and we have many students who take the train to New College or Greenhead College.

“One of the council’s priorities is the safety of women and girls – and that’s a priority of the Mayor of West Yorkshire too – and another is encouraging active travel and the use of public transport.

“This is a long stretch of footpath through a rural area lined with tall, over-hanging trees. Without these lights it will be pitch black at night and that will discourage people from using it.”

The path was surfaced with a special porous paving material, a 50-50 mix of recycled rubber from old tyres and stone.

Now, if the 40 bollards are removed, the surface will also have to be repaired and Clr Taylor added: “The cost of ripping the bollards out and repairing the holes they leave will surely be more than the cost of an occasional replacement?

“I just can’t believe what the council is saying about this. It goes against everything Kirklees says it stands for, keeping people safe and promoting active travel.”

Clr Taylor said the council probably made a mistake in the first place installing lighting bollards that were vulnerable to vandalism and damage.

Clr Taylor has urged the council to carry out a community safety review before any action is taken. He also wants to know whether Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin and West Yorkshire Police have been consulted.

In an email to councillors, a council officer wrote: “As you will be aware, the lit bollards that were installed on Stretchgate have been the subject of regular vandalism.

“The Highways Service have responded to several requests to make safe and to undertake permanent repairs to the damaged bollards over the last three years. The cost to the council to date is £4,765.

“This level of expenditure is no longer sustainable if the service is to meet its budget saving targets for 24/25.

“Therefore, we are proposing to remove the lit bollards, to remove the financial pressure and injury risk. Whilst I appreciate that this is not the option that any of us would prefer, we are simply no longer able to commit to ongoing repair costs.”

In a statement to Huddersfield Hub, David Shepherd, strategic director for growth and regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “The council is disappointed that the lighting on Stretchgate is a constant target for vandals.

“Funding the removal isn’t the outcome we’d hoped for but the cost of the vandalism continues to escalate year on year and, unfortunately, the level of investment required to maintain the lighting is no longer sustainable.”