Lancaster Civic Society says increase in graffiti in city is spoiling environment

Lancaster Civic Society has complained to the city council about the increase in graffiti around Lancaster.

Thursday, 28th January 2021, 7:00 am
Graffiti near Lancaster railway. Photo by Amy Stanning, executive committee member of Lancaster Civic Society.

Members of the society asked their honorary secretary James Wilkie to write to the council's chief executive after witnessing 'multiple instances' of graffiti appearing across the city in recent weeks.

More than 20 photographic examples of the graffiti were sent with the letter.

In his letter, Mr Wilkie said: "During recent weeks multiple instances have appeared of graffiti across the city, most particularly in the quay and Marsh areas.

Graffiti near Lancaster railway. Photo by Amy Stanning, executive committee member of Lancaster Civic Society.

"These mainly consist of aerosol paint ‘tags’ on flat surfaces including flood gates, bridges and street utility cabinets and also stonework.

"During a recent tour of the quay and Marsh areas at least 22 instances were noted.

"Lancaster Civic Society is concerned by this egregious despoliation of our civic environment and the risk of further instances in line with ‘broken window syndrome’.

"During the current emergency we appreciate the authority’s focus is naturally directed towards pandemic mitigation and resources are stretched.

Graffiti on the quay cycle path. Photo by Amy Stanning, executive committee member of Lancaster Civic Society.

"However we would request that the city council gives consideration to taking steps to remove such graffiti, in part to prevent further escalation, greater despoliation and ultimately increased cost to remove.

"Some of the assets defaced will be the responsibility of other authorities and we should be grateful if the authority would alert those responsible and call for removal and repair."

Coun Dave Brookes, cabinet member with responsibility for natural environment, said: “The recent spate of graffiti in the area is also of great concern to the council. As well as being unsightly, it can lead to places feeling uncared for and less safe, even if that isn't actually the case, which is not want we want for our district.

“We know that early removal of graffiti is one of the best deterrents, and despite council resources being hugely stretched due to the pandemic, our cleansing teams are continuing to remove graffiti as soon as they possibly can once it is reported to us.

"We will remove graffiti in any location we can get to, except where the property owner prefers to tackle it themselves. Some organisations require removal to be carried out by their own contractors, so we are unable to remove graffiti from railway bridges and telecoms cabinets for example, although we do always pass on complaints.

"It should be noted that graffiti is a criminal offence and can carry a large fine if those responsible are caught. Prevention is better than a cure for all concerned of course, and as a member of the Lancaster District Community Safety Partnership, we’re working with police and other agencies to look at ways of addressing the root causes of anti-social behaviour, including graffiti.

“As with all environmental crime which has a damaging impact on the area and our communities, including graffiti, fly-tipping and fly-posting, it is important that people help us to tackle the problem by reporting what they have seen and know to the council.

"People can do this by calling us 01524 582491, emailing [email protected] or reporting incidents online at www.lancaster.gov.uk/environmental-problems/vandalism.”

Graffiti in North Road. Photo by Amy Stanning, executive committee member of Lancaster Civic Society.
Graffiti near Lancaster railway. Photo by Amy Stanning, executive committee member of Lancaster Civic Society.
Graffiti in Damside Street. Photo by Amy Stanning, executive committee member of Lancaster Civic Society.