Bristol TV

Sunrise Sunset
°C
Today
07/12/2021
°C
Tonight
07/12/2021
°C
Tomorrow
08/12/2021
°C
Saturday
09/12/2021
°C
Sunday
10/12/2021
°C
Monday
11/12/2021
°C

STINGING ATTACK: Mayor defends graffiti record

STINGING ATTACK: Mayor defends graffiti record

Image: LDRS

Bristol’s mayor has defended the council’s record tackling graffiti after a stinging attack from a member of the public who said the city looked like “the Bronx in the 80s”.

“Chris” from Frenchay made the comparison with the New York City suburb in the decade it experienced a boom in street art during a radio phone-in today.

But Marvin Rees said graffiti and litter had been a “massive challenge” since he took office in 2016, and that 4,000 tags had been removed from the city since 2019.

He said he found tagging “infuriating” and had caught a couple of taggers red-handed himself and even filmed one of them on his phone, copping abuse in the process.

The exchange took place on BBC Radio Bristol during a phone-in slot where the city’s elected mayor took questions from members of the public on Wednesday (August 11).

“Chris” from Frenchay asked: “Why is the council not doing anything about the appalling tagging that is blighting this city?”

“I’m not talking about the street art, in the vein of the DJ Derek mural in Eastville, but the mindless tagging and scrawls that are on private and public buildings, bus stops, signs, park benches and bins just about everywhere you look.

“Your attempt to make Bristol look arty and edgy has failed miserably. Whatever happened to ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’?

“It looks more like the Bronx in the 80s rather than a modern-day Barcelona.

“And it’s funny how you managed to clean up the graffiti after the recent [Kill the Bill] riots around Bridewell in 24 hours. So why not the rest of the city?”

Mr Rees said the council was “trying to get on top of” litter and graffiti, but “it’s just not easy”.

He referred to Bristol Clean Streets, a three-year campaign he launched in 2016 with a pledge to make the city “measurably cleaner” by 2020, and the Big Tidy, an initiative run by the council-owned Bristol Waste company.

Since its launch in October 2019, the Big Tidy crew has removed 4,000 graffiti tags from the city’s streets, Mr Rees said. It has also deep cleaned over 900 streets and cleared 488 tonnes of litter, fly-tip and detritus, according to Bristol Waste’s website.

“We do have a team going out around and about,” he said. “It’s not a case that no-one’s doing anything.

“But we need that behaviour change.

“I’ve intervened myself twice when I’ve caught people doing tagging and graffiti, against police advice, actually.”

Mr Rees described how he told one young man to “go back” to his parents’ village and do his tagging there and another to go home and practise in his bedroom.

“I said: ‘If you’re going to do it, at least make it good, don’t come and practise in public. Practise in your bedroom.’ And he got quite abusive with me, but, you know, you stand your ground,” Mr Rees said.

“Some of the stuff that we see is just rubbish, I mean, that’s the point. It’s just rubbish stuff. There’s no real political expression in it, there’s no political message. It just makes the place look dirty and it’s infuriating, to put it mildly.

“It breaks my heart.”

Mr Rees said he had asked the new cabinet member responsible for waste, Cllr Nicola Beech, to talk with members of the street art community about “self-policing”.

“I do think there is a piece of work to be done with some of the leading street artists in Bristol and asking how we can work together and get the word out of what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable and get some self-policing going on,” he said.

“It’s not an easy challenge to take on but we continue to put the efforts into it.”

 

Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter


Watch Live


Watch the channel on TV

7

Freeview

195

Sky

159

Virgin Media