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Protecting public spaces from graffiti

18 February 2022

OPINIONS ON what constitutes graffiti vary widely, with some viewing it as an art form or visual expression of social issues, while others consider it to be unsightly, and a sign of crime and disorder.

Whatever view is held, illegal graffiti can bear a significant cost to property owners and the government.

It has been estimated that the cost to clean up graffiti in the UK each year is over £1 billion. 

As well as causing damage to the appearance of graffiti may give the impression that an area is uncared for. It may even appear threatening, if it is offensive or abusive. 

A social science study on graffiti, published in in the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (2016), references graffiti as an ‘art crime’ acknowledging that despite the artistic nature of (some) graffiti in some contexts it is damaging and inappropriate. Graffiti may also negatively affect entire communities.

Beaulieu in Chelmsford, Essex is a collection of new homes, surrounded by parkland. It has been described as a “vibrant new district…offering inspirational architecture and landscape…premium housing and exemplary community facilities.” 

When graffiti appeared on equipment at a children’s playground within the development, the appointed maintenance contractor Plant Style Ltd chose to employ the expertise of SafeSite Security Solutions to remove the graffiti and protect the equipment from any future incidents.

Graffiti removal involves the use of high and low pressure washers to effectively remove graffiti from any surface. If care is taken, it should be possible to remove all traces of graffiti without damaging surfaces, or leaving behind any markings or shadows.

Once the graffiti had been removed from the play equipment, the area was secured for 24 hours to allow the surface to dry thoroughly, so that a specialist protective coating could then be applied. While work was underway it was important to ensure the whole area was safely sealed off. SafeSite installed Chapter 8 barriers around the equipment to mark it ‘out of bounds’ until it was safe to re-enter.

Commenting on the project Jamie Orman, Operations Manager, Plant Style said: “As an Essex-based company we take a professional pride in ensuring that the open spaces we maintain look their very best for the local community to enjoy. The Beaulieu development is part of a 20-year regeneration programme in Chelmsford to create up to 3,600 new homes. The aim of the development is to offer inspirational architecture and landscape, including an extensive network of parkland and green open spaces for residents. It was crucial we acted fast to restore the playground to its former glory.”

Gabriella Pemberton, General Manager SafeSite Security Solutions added: “Graffiti in any area, and particularly in a children’s playground is unwelcome and antisocial. In this case, the graffiti was also offensive, so swift action was needed to remove it. The playground was able to reopen within 48 hours of work beginning, with safety measures put in place during the temporary closure to secure the area. The anti-graffiti coating we applied at Beaulieu offers multiple benefits. Its effects are long-lasting, meaning no re-application is required; providing permanent protection on the surfaces it is applied to. It also creates a washable surface so should any further graffiti re-occur, it can be easily removed with soap and water. We are pleased to offer our graffiti removal service nationwide, helping to keep streets, parks and public spaces across the UK clean and safe for all to enjoy.”

For more information visit www.safesitesecuritysolutions.co.uk