Clean-up programme removes 6,000 graffiti tags in five years
Hull Business Improvement District (BID) is winning the battle to keep the city centre free of graffiti, according to responses from people working in the area.
But while the majority of businesses who completed a one-off Hull BID survey recognise that a graffiti-free environment is important, more than half thought cleaning services were provided by Hull City Council.
“With businesses now voting on the future of Hull BID this survey underlines how important it is that people understand who does what when it comes to removing graffiti,” said Kathryn Shillito, Hull BID City Centre Manager.
“Hull BID works very closely with Hull City Council and together we make a great team. But it is not Council policy to remove graffiti from private buildings as they just don’t have the resources.
“Hull BID is always on the lookout for graffiti. When we see any, or it is reported to us, we send our maintenance and cleaning operative, Martin Foster, to remove it.
“Often the occupiers of a building will not even see the graffiti. Martin starts his patrols very early in the morning and removes any graffiti he comes across before putting a card through the letterbox to let people know we have been there.”
Hull Civic Society recently recognised Hull BID’s efforts in keeping the city centre clean and free of graffiti by presenting Kathryn with one of its “Looking Good “ awards – with an additional certificate for Martin.
“Our approach is to get rid of graffiti as soon as possible because if the taggers realise their work won’t be on display for long they’re more likely to not bother in the first place,” said Kathryn.
“But if Hull BID did not exist then businesses would have to deal with their own graffiti problems themselves, at their own expense. We are confident that most businesses realise the BID levy is a small price to pay for the service and the peace of mind.”
In the five years since Hull BID was established its staff have cleared 6,000 graffiti tags from sites around the city centre. There are signs that the frequency of graffiti tagging is reducing, meaning the staff can turn to other work including general cleaning and smartening empty premises.
The feedback from businesses who completed the graffiti survey shows that 57 per cent thought removal of graffiti was done by the City Council. A total of 65 per cent consider the graffiti removal service if very important to the city, with 30 per cent rating it as “important”.
A total of 93 per cent said they have noticed an improvement in the city centre, and 91 per cent said the centre is noticeably graffiti-free compared to other areas of Hull.
Karen Walker, Manager of Hull Townhouse Hotel in Albion Street, said: “We had some issues with graffiti and it was removed quickly, which was fantastic.
“It’s good to know there is someone we can contact when that happens because if we have to pay for someone ourselves to clean it up the costs escalate.”
John Whitton of Pixel to Print responded: “It puts people off coming to the city if there is graffiti around. It gives off the wrong impression.”
Carol Westbury of Rowley Lenses added: “We were very impressed with the speed of the graffiti removal.”
Wendy Williamson of Arnold Hearing said: “The city centre needs to be kept clean for residents, businesses and visitors.”
Kathryn Shillito added: “The survey covered a sample of businesses across the city centre and demonstrated the value of our graffiti-removal service but it also underlined that we can’t afford to be complacent, so the early morning patrols will continue.
“The survey also alerted us to other issues, such as the dumping of plastic bottles and other litter at Beverley Gate and general untidiness at an area near Osborne Street, so we have cleaned that up as well. Anyone who wants to report any litter, graffiti or other mess should contact us and we will respond.”