Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Completely Barmy

AN MP has said its 'Completely Barmy' that graffiti is to stay on a canal bridge as it is not offensive.  MP Gavin Williamson is appalled by the decision by the Canal and Rivers Trust not to remove the graffiti. The Trusts chief executive told the South Staffordshire MP that as the trust has limited resources, it can only remove graffiti that is offensive.

Mr Williamson is asking for volunteers to help him clean it up himself - or failing that, he wants the Canal and Rivers Trust chief executive to do it. The MP said: 'The idea that someone has to scrawl something rude and offensive before they clean this is barking mad. "It's totally out of order, utterly ridiculous and completely barmy and irresponsible. Wombourne is a beautiful village, the canal is one of its many great assets and having that dreadful graffiti there is dreadful. I'm throwing down the gauntlet to the chief executive and I'd very much like him to clean it.'

The MP contacted the trust to clean the graffiti as it was threatening the Best Kept Village campaign. It is near to Bumblehole Lock on Canal Walk. The Residents had contacted their MP complaining about the vandalism. Mr Williamson said he wanted ‘quick and speedy action’ to erase the graffiti.

However in response to the call, Richard Parry at the Canal and Rivers Trust said to the MP: 'Having looked into the issue it appears the graffiti is on the canal bridge under our ownership and also on the adjacent footbridge that we are not responsible for. The trust's limited resources mean that we can only address offensive graffiti - from what we have seen we do not believe this qualifies as offensive. However we are prepared to match fund projects to deal with graffiti where local authorities are prepared to fund and work with us. It is unfortunate, but in our experience when graffiti is removed it typically reappears shortly after, unless local authorities are willing to help us tackle the problem. With regard to the removal itself, whilst it may seem a simple operation it is a specialised task, especially when on listed or historic structures.'

Maybe the four independent representatives we elected, who have done nothing so far of any note, could turn up and help Richard to clean up the stonework. Maybe one or more of the Trustees could also show a bit of willing and get out the buckets and brushes. Any bets on Tony Hales leading the clean up group. 

Four years ago vandalised bridges in Wombourne were left covered in graffiti because of red tape, with the former British Waterways organisation saying only ‘specialists’ could scrub it off. Members of Wombourne’s Best Kept Village committee had been ordered to take training before being allowed to scrub off spray paint. British Waterways said it could not afford to have them cleaned.

However, there is a popular misconception that it only the youth that gets involved in spraying Graffiti. Kieran Morley, pleaded guilty to 14 charges of criminal damage. The court heard the 44-year-old struck at a number of businesses in Staffordshire.

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