By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
A council will scrub graffiti off businesses for free in an attempt to clean up local high streets.
Southwark council said it had introduced the no cost service to tackle the “escalating issue of unsightly graffiti vandalism in the borough’s town centres.”
Residents of Peckham have previously said the streets between Peckham Rye and Queen’s Road Peckham railway stations had become a hotspot for graffiti. They said people were travelling to the area by train to spray tags on the streets.
Peckham High Street is one of the first roads set to be targeted by the council, as part of its graffiti blitz.
Council cleaners are washing off tags along the street all this week, before targeting other hotspots in the weeks ahead.
Previously, businesses had to wash off graffiti from their buildings themselves or pay for the council’s service.
Officials said the cost of this put off many local traders from removing tags from their buildings. Under the new scheme, the Labour-run council will scrub graffiti off privately owned buildings up to two metres tall for no charge.
Southwark said it was also working with the police to identify and prosecute graffiti vandals, as well as using its powers to crack down on businesses which made no efforts to clean tags off their properties.
Councillor James McAsh, cabinet member for streets, said: “Graffiti, not to be confused with public art, is a growing concern for residents and businesses across the borough. This is why we’re taking decisive action to eliminate these eyesores from our high streets by providing local businesses with a complimentary graffiti removal service.
“Given the ongoing cost of living emergency, we understand many businesses are struggling to keep afloat and struggle to cover clean-up costs themselves. We’re here to help.”
Pictured top: James McAsh, Southwark council cabinet member for streets, removing graffiti (Picture: Southwark council)
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