Meeting Notes 01 Jan 2013

Draft Notes from mini-LAT meeting on subject of Elder Place Graffiti

25th January 2013 14.30 Calvary Church, Gates Room

present: Philip Wells (LAT), Insp Gareth Davies, Sgt Dave Palmer, Simon Bannister (Council), Damien Marmura &  Mark ??? (City Clean), Cllr Pete West, Steve Mulrine (Kings Cartridges and Printers – London Road)

Apologies: Alan Buck (Planning Dept – diary problem), Mike Moon (City Clean – additional urgent meetings had arisen at a few days notice)

1. Welcome. As it was stated that other attendees need to go quickly we proceeded straight to business

2. introductions

3. discussion and analysis of the problem

– this problem can really only be solved by partnership between all (i.e. City clean, police, council, traders, residents etc.)

– Alan Buck sent in an email

Elder Place is highlighted in the London Road Masterplan as an area where ‘active frontage’ uses are encouraged.  This is a long term and incremental objective, but if this can be achieved, it reduces opportunities for graffiti (and hopefully the urge to carry it out).

The place-making project that we piloted in Providence Place is to be taken forward as a long term/permanent scheme and we will shortly be getting a design drawn up for this to be implemented in phases as and when funding is available (and we do have some funding in the pot).  We should also be getting a good amount of Section 106 money for the project from the Co-op redevelopment (assuming that it goes ahead).  Hopefully the environmental enhancement of Providence Place and the garden will have a knock-on effect on the wider area, both in terms of rolling out environmental improvements further to the north along Providence Place and Elder Place and in helping to stimulate private sector investment and property improvements and redevelopments along the street.  It is hoped that this will also help to deter graffiti tagging and other forms of antisocial behaviour.

– Damien proposed that the solution was to put the whole area in the hands of graffiti artist Paul Barlow as per Kensington gardens

– Simon showed a slide show of the entire area from Elder Place down to St Bartholomews.  Some premises had “commissioned pieces” (e.g. via Probation service), others bore random tagging and graffiti, some were occupied as residences and remained clean, other commercial premises had also been cleaned. The area also contains many untidy bins. Worlds End used outside space as a seating area, but the streetscape is largely that of an unwelcoming delivery access road, with *backs* of premises, and a vehicular access route to London road car park.

– the area is an inconsistent patchwork of “canvasses” many being on private land. Some surfaces are rendered, other are brick. St Barts church is brickwork, plus it is a listed building.

– some commissioned pieces had done a good job but were beginning to look tired

– Police mentioned the extreme difficulty of apprehending any perpetrator (e.g. for deterrent value) citing:

  • low reporting of graffiti incidents
  • the offence can be committed in a matter of seconds
  • difficult to get adequate evidence to convict
  • offences are committed at night time – fewer patrols
  • many places for offenders to hide
  • approach of patrol headlights gives advance warning
  • poor lighting
  • lack of motion-detecting lights
  • lack of CCTV
  • unacceptability of stopping suspicious people (e.g. with rucksacks possibly containing spray cans) without adequate reason to stop

Simon reported that the Arts Club owner was fearful of keeping the door unlocked because of the unsavoury people that might come in – especially at night time.

  • Comment: an enforcement blitz would be pointless without sustainable longer-term measures
  • Comment: the carriageway esp. by St. Barts is dark and intimidating at night and early morning with inadequate street lights, and hiding places
  • Comment: the street level pedestrian egress for a visitor using London Road car park is at best unattractive and at worst intimidating. (Cllr Davey & public realm improvements possible?)

4. components of possible solution

  1. Form an incremental plan
  2. asking traders for interest and support, and a combined buy-in to putative plan
  3. can there be any “commissioned” pieces (traders were being approached already by organised groups offering this)
  4. establishment of a base room in the car park with stocks of paint and cleaning materials
  5. police: intervention by patrols can be used, but only in a targeted and limited way – hopefully based on intelligence
  6. police: encourage reporting/ringing in all fresh incidents (so as to establish any patterns),
  7. police encourage prevention e.g. motion detection lighting + CCTV
  8. Action Point: police to ascertain any existing presence of security staff e.g. night-time premises security, late-night door staff.
  9. improve lighting
  10. we felt that we had begun to tease out the problem, but not yet put together a way forward to a solution
  11. awaiting full redevelopment would take far too long
  12. don’t offer anything prematurely that is not going to be followed up
  13. further meeting to iron out the parts of an action plan ?? 8th Feb 10.00 Calvary Church.
  14. inform Simon, and ask him not to arouse over-expectation from Traders until we have a plan in place.
  15. contact Ian Davey re car park public realm monies (e.g. lighting)
  16. PW: produce these notes

Meeting concluded around 15.30 – Simon and Damien having had to leave earlier.

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