Council told: It doesn’t matter where graffiti appears, just get rid of it

The underpass below St Dunstan's level crossing is covered in graffiti

The chairman of the Canterbury Society has issued a plea to the city council to tackle graffiti wherever and whenever it appears.

Speaking to councillors last night, Jan Pahl urged the authority not to differentiate between private and public property as they work on cleaning the district up.

A report which went before councillors suggested it was easier for cleaning contractor Serco to deal with vandalism to public property than it was to private which could take far longer to carry out and would require a waiver from the owner.

Prof Pahl said: “However, we are sure that you as councillors are very aware that residents want something done about it no matter who owns the property.

“This graffiti is frightful and ghastly. We need some action.”

Graffiti on a property in St Dunstan’s Street

At the meeting of the Canterbury Area Panel yesterday, Prof Pahl identified three underpasses as having particularly bad problems.

They are the two underpasses which take pedestrians to and from the Victoria Rec side of the Rheims Way to the London Road side and the underpass below the St Dunstan’s level crossing.

“The work to be done on each of the underpasses is really quite complicated,” Prof Pahl added.

“I know that some excellent work has been done by residents painting murals.

“But the work of stripping, renovating and covering with anti-graffiti paint is a job for professionals. There has to be continuing commitment on the part of the council to clearing off new graffiti when it occurs.”

Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green, who represents Wincheap, said he did not accept that the council could not immediately remove graffiti from property it does not own.

“In the current edition of District Life [the council’s magazine], there is a photograph of an enforcement officer removing graffiti from a pillar box,” he said.

“This is Royal Mail property. It should be perfectly possible for us to remove graffiti from things like lampposts and property that belongs to other utilities.”


  1. As reports continue to come in on this subject, let’s just focus on a couple of things.
    Spray painters are no more street artists, than I’m some kind of roadside Rembrandt! Without exception, all graffiti daubed on other folks’ property (public or private) is criminal damage. No ifs, no buts, no need for lily-livered euphemisms and certainly no excuses. As a nation, we were rightly disgusted when the Cenotaph was vandalised. As a community, our reaction should be the same, even if the target is a postbox, shopfront or a garden fence.
    Canterbury is reported as having one of the highest number of CCTV cameras, per head of population, in the UK. Additionally, CCC is supposed to have covert CCTV units. Really? Are they all switched off then? Or, has some snowflake decided that recording images of criminals damaging property somehow infringes upon their right to despoil, vandalise and ruin?
    One of the greatest deterrents known is name and shame. We’d have no compunction doing this with fly-tippers, thieves and molesters – their names appear in the media regularly. Why not spray painters? Name, shame, convict and then get them back on the streets cleaning up the very walls that they’ve sprayed.
    AND… Stop calling these vandals “artists!” Criminal damage is clearly defined in law. Well, let’s use all means available to catch these spray painters and then let the law correctly re-define them as the criminals they are.


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