Monday, 30 March 2015

Guest blog - Stacey Corkhill

I am pleased to publish below a guest contribution for my blog from Stacey Corkhill, a local Digital Communications Assistant and a recent Interior and Environmental Design Graduate from the University of Dundee.   

Stacey's contribution is about tackling graffiti :

Improving the West End: and booting out the vandals

There’s no doubt about it – the West End of Dundee has become a heartland for design, architecture and the prosperity of the city. 

UNESCO awarded us City of Design status; the upcoming V&A museum will see tourist numbers soar; the overhaul of the waterfront will inject millions into the local economy; and the modernisation of Dundee’s train station has made the influx of tourists more easily manageable. 

As the spring season rears its head, things are looking brighter for all of Dundee’s West End. 

Yet from Balgay Hill to the Cultural Quarter, one problem is hitting residents hard – it’s graffiti, and it’s painting problems wherever it’s sprayed. 

Indeed, have-a-go Banksys have always existed in Dundee. But many vandals don’t seem to realise the negative impact they’re having on the community.

A single graffiti council clean-up costs taxpayers thousands of pounds. Imagine that figure multiplied hundreds of times as councils battle to clear up the mess made by these puerile etchers. 

One case in the local area is a perfect indicator of the cost of graffiti in the community. 

An individual who appeared at the Perth Sheriff Court for vandalism offences in 2010, was forced to pay back the cost of the clean-up bill – a sum of £4,206. 

According to STV News, the sheriff said: "This was childish, puerile, stupid, idiotic, immature behaviour which the rest of us find difficult to fathom. How would he feel if someone came up to his property and spray painted it?

"Road signs are of particular significance as they may be related to road safety. I expect him to pay every single penny back to the taxpayer for the damage he caused.

"Why should anyone else have to fork out? Taxpayers in this community have had to pay over £4,000 because of his wanton vandalism.

"He probably never thought he would have to pay the cost of it. It is instructive that that is the cost of this kind of wanton, idiotic vandalism.

"There seems to be a belief this kind of graffiti is art, but it is not art, it is vandalism because you are damaging the property and the public has to pay. Now he has had his comeuppance."

But Dundee’s West End is working hard to fix the damage reaped on properties in the area.

Solutions to the problem :

Several volunteer groups come together at regular intervals to help rid the streets of tags and drawings. The Community Spirit Action Group is a particular champion of these events in the local area. Graffiti removal from private companies is also being utilised across the area for wider scale clear-ups. 

More than this, we recommend reporting any graffiti you see to the appropriate authorities. Graffiti vandalism is illegal under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) 2004.   The culprits need to be taught that their so-called “works of art” are, in fact, a nuisance. 

Dundee’s West End is improving in leaps and bounds – let’s not allow vandals to ruin our progress.