Rugby council sets up group to tackle rising level of graffiti after revealing it spends £8k a year on the problem

The group will work to find solutions to the worsening problem

Rugby Town Hall. File image.

A working group has been set-up by Rugby Borough Council to try and tackle the increasing amount of graffiti across the borough.

And as part of its remit, the group will look at securing extra funding for art projects and forging a partnership with the Arts Council in a bid to replicate the success of a scheme in Brownsover completed more than 25 years ago.

Members of the council’s scrutiny committee approved the plan at their meeting this week, November 22, after the matter had been raised at a full council meeting in September when Cllr Wayne Rabin (Con, Newbold and Brownsover) put forward a motion.

It explained that around £8,000 was spent every year on removing almost 200 graffiti ‘tags’ and obscene images from public buildings, subways, parks and recreation areas.

He added: “Councillors from all parties have raised the issue yet no practical, lasting solutions have been found.

“I believe that in Brownsover we have the solution, which has successfully been in place for over 25 years. The iconic mural/relief artwork in the Crowthorns underpass was inspired and created by the late Helga Windle, a prolific artist. Helga was heavily involved with school/youth/community projects and created this with students from local schools and members of community groups.

“This artwork, along with examples across the country, show that, where the community has been involved in its creation, it remains untouched and has become the subject of community pride.”

Speaking at this week’s meeting, Cllr Tim Douglas (Lib Dem, Paddox) added: “Certainly my experience of graffiti, and I have raised questions in full council about this matter, is that there needs to be a distinction made between public and private land and what the council can and cannot do.

“We should be able to signpost affected residents and businesses to various agencies for support. Certainly residents in Paddox ward have been affected by graffiti and felt that the council didn’t offer them support because it was on private land. I would like that added if possible.”

Four councillors - two Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and one Labour - will make up the task and finish group and consultation will be carried out with the Arts Council, police and members of the public including some of those involved in graffiti and aerosol art.

The group will report back to the scrutiny committee in the new year with their report and recommendations.