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Council action on graffiti in Canterbury

By Gerry Warren

The war on graffiti being waged by the city council could see the authority take legal action against the owner of a property which has been daubed with spray paint.

Vandals have targeted hoardings around the former Westgate Kebabs in St Dunstan’s, which is in the shadow of the Westgate Towers.

The ugly spectacle is an eyesore in the historic location where the council and traders has been trying to raise the standard of the street scene in recent years.

Graffiti on the former Westgate Kebabs takeaway
Graffiti on the former Westgate Kebabs takeaway

The kebab takeaway closed following a serious fire last October which badly damaged the building, leaving it boarded up ever since.

Both the front of the shop in St Dunstan’s Street and the side in North Lane were left covered in black scrawl following the incident.

It sparked concern from many as the building is on such a busy route for both visitors and business people arriving on the high speed train at Canterbury West.

Canterbury City Council says it is in the process of contacting the owner about the removal of the graffiti and has powers to order a clean up.

Spokesman Leo Whitlock said: “The owner can either do this work themselves, or we can do it and charge them.

“Should they not co-operate, we have enforcement powers available to us which would require the owner to remove it, although we hope it wouldn’t come to that.”

A council enforcement officer cleans tagging off a post pox
A council enforcement officer cleans tagging off a post pox

The council recently held a graffiti cleaning blitz in the city removing around 500 tags from buildings and street furniture as part of its Love Where We Live campaign.

Contractor Serco will clean offensive graffiti within two hours of receiving the report and clean graffiti for free from people’s homes on four occasions, if the owner signs a waiver allowing them to do the work.

With commercial premises, the council will write to the owner and ask them to remove the graffiti.

If action is not taken, the council will issue a Community Protection Warning (CPW) letting the owner or occupier know if they do not remove the graffiti by a specified date, further action will follow.

It is also targetting littering armed with powers to issue increased fines of £150 to offenders.

The village of Bridge is also undergoing a clean up after vandals ‘tagged’ a number of buildings and street furniture.

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