Rugby councillors agree to look into rise in graffiti - although Banksy would be welcome
Graffiti has cost the council more than £8,000 over the last year
Rugby councillors have agreed to look into how to tackle the problem of a rise in graffiti across the town - although one councillor said a Banksy would be handy for the council's finances.
Councillor Tim Douglas (Paddox) became increasingly concerned by graffiti across the town, prompting him to investigate the figures.
He learned that in 2018 there were 52 graffiti reports, in 2019, there were 63 reports and in 2020 there were 75 incidents of graffiti reported to Rugby Borough Council.
Rugby council said the issue has cost them £8,029 in staff hours to clean graffiti over the last year, with each instance of graffiti usually taking two council officers almost three hours to clean up.
Cllr Douglas said: "Graffiti has been evident across Rugby - in areas such as around the train station and Murray Road, parts of Bilton, on bus shelters in Brownsover, in Hillmorton and in the Paddox area on Kingsley Avenue, McKinnell Crescent, Hillmorton Road and Lower Hillmorton Road.
"As well as on road signs and on private property including residents’ fences and shops.
"Residents have seen a rise in graffiti across Rugby on public and private property in the past twelve months which is causing criminal damage and a blot on the landscape.
"It is also costing time and effort to clean as well as causing frustration and annoyance for businesses and residents.
“We need to show the perpetrators that it’s not acceptable and it won’t be tolerated.
"With a strategy and greater intelligence sharing we can tackle this issue.”
To this end, Cllr Douglas proposed that a task group be set up whereby councillors, residents, businesses, council officers and the police work together to tackle the issue.
This was discussed at Rugby's full council meeting on April 20, with Councillor Howard Roberts, who is the portfolio holder for environment and public realm, agreeing with Cllr Douglas.
Cllr Roberts said: "We need to get to the bottom of why people feel the need to graffiti on our public realm, it's not a simple issue, and it will need a lot of very clever people to work it out.
"I'm happy to talk to you [Cllr Douglas] about how we can move this forward. It seems to be very similar to the littering problem.
"But I'm sure there are solutions to it.
"In a more light-hearted way, we only need one Banksy to pay off the council's debt - but I don't think we're going to get one any moment soon.
"So can we arrange a meeting with you after this meeting, to talk about what we can do to solve the problem?"
Cllr Douglas then agreed to arrange a meeting.