Council announces new graffiti strategy as fines could triple for taggers

Brighton and Hove City Council announced new plans as graffiti is blighting the city centre.

Small businesses could also be offered an “on request” cleaning service with the council also consulting on plans to more than triple fines for offenders.

The Argus: Businesses could be made to pay for graffiti cleaningBusinesses could be made to pay for graffiti cleaning

Previously, small businesses had been fined by the council for not cleaning graffiti from their building but the penalties were scrapped in June.

Under new proposals, small businesses would be able to pay for the council to clean the graffiti rather than being fined if they do not.

Similarly, larger businesses and “statutory undertakers” who own phone boxes and other street furniture may be made to foot the bill for graffiti cleaning.

Plans to start consultation on the changes will go before a council committee next week.

Among the new plans, fines for tagging currently set at a maximum of £150 would rise to £500.

The council would also work to remove unused street furniture to give less spaces for taggers to vandalise.

Announcing the consultation, Councillor Tim Rowkins, Chair of the City Environment said: “Tagging has blighted the city for too long, and has only got worse.

“We’re really keen to make a distinction between graffiti tagging and graffiti art. With the permission of the property owner, graffiti art can enhance our city’s cultural offer but graffiti tagging is criminal vandalism and impacts residents, businesses and visitors.

“We’re hoping to explore new ideas about how to tackle tagging offences in the city and would love to hear from residents and businesses how they think we can continue to prevent, enforce, remove and monitor tagging offences in the future.”

A council spokesman reiterated: “We already have a policy in place to recharge businesses for removal of graffiti in some circumstances. We are also looking at further opportunities for a paid service, subject to resources.”

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