Tackling litter and graffiti in the West End

There’s a West End Community Clean Up on Saturday 23rd July at 10am – all welcome!
 
Join the local community in a clean up to help tackle litter and graffiti in the West End.
 
Meet at the Verdant Works car park on the corner of Blinshall Street and Miln Street.
The plan is to have the Verdant Works as a starting point and then radiate out and work in the area around it.  

Graffiti tackled – Peddie Street area

Constituents have raised with me concerns about graffiti vandalism in the Peddie Street area – at the pathway between the street and Tait’s Lane and on some of the nearby industrial estate buildings – see examples below :

 

 

I raised this concern with the City Council’s Rapid Response Team who promptly removed graffiti on publicly-owned sites and have sought owners’ permission to remove graffiti at these locations.

Getting things done – City Road

Following complaints from residents about graffiti on the utility boxes in City Road near Saggar Street, I asked the City Council’s Rapid Response Team to remove this and they have very promptly tackled this :
Before
After
There is also graffiti on the Friary wall on City Road, which will also be removed after a disclaimer is signed by the owner to grant permission to undertake removal :

Guest blog – Stacey Corkhill

I am pleased to publish below a guest contribution for my blog from Stacey Corkhill, a local Digital Communications Assistant and a recent Interior and Environmental Design Graduate from the University of Dundee.   
 
Stacey’s contribution is about tackling graffiti :
 
Improving the West End: and booting out the vandals
 
There’s no doubt about it – the West End of Dundee has become a heartland for design, architecture and the prosperity of the city. 
 
UNESCO awarded us City of Design status; the upcoming V&A museum will see tourist numbers soar; the overhaul of the waterfront will inject millions into the local economy; and the modernisation of Dundee’s train station has made the influx of tourists more easily manageable. 
 
As the spring season rears its head, things are looking brighter for all of Dundee’s West End. 
 
Yet from Balgay Hill to the Cultural Quarter, one problem is hitting residents hard – it’s graffiti, and it’s painting problems wherever it’s sprayed. 
 
Indeed, have-a-go Banksys have always existed in Dundee. But many vandals don’t seem to realise the negative impact they’re having on the community.
A single graffiti council clean-up costs taxpayers thousands of pounds. Imagine that figure multiplied hundreds of times as councils battle to clear up the mess made by these puerile etchers. 
 
One case in the local area is a perfect indicator of the cost of graffiti in the community. 
 
An individual who appeared at the Perth Sheriff Court for vandalism offences in 2010, was forced to pay back the cost of the clean-up bill – a sum of £4,206. 
 
According to STV News, the sheriff said: “This was childish, puerile, stupid, idiotic, immature behaviour which the rest of us find difficult to fathom. How would he feel if someone came up to his property and spray painted it?
 
“Road signs are of particular significance as they may be related to road safety. I expect him to pay every single penny back to the taxpayer for the damage he caused.
 
“Why should anyone else have to fork out? Taxpayers in this community have had to pay over £4,000 because of his wanton vandalism.
 
“He probably never thought he would have to pay the cost of it. It is instructive that that is the cost of this kind of wanton, idiotic vandalism.
“There seems to be a belief this kind of graffiti is art, but it is not art, it is vandalism because you are damaging the property and the public has to pay. Now he has had his comeuppance.”
 
But Dundee’s West End is working hard to fix the damage reaped on properties in the area.
Solutions to the problem :
 
Several volunteer groups come together at regular intervals to help rid the streets of tags and drawings. The Community Spirit Action Group is a particular champion of these events in the local area. Graffiti removal from private companies is also being utilised across the area for wider scale clear-ups. 
 
More than this, we recommend reporting any graffiti you see to the appropriate authorities. Graffiti vandalism is illegal under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) 2004.   The culprits need to be taught that their so-called “works of art” are, in fact, a nuisance. 
 
Dundee’s West End is improving in leaps and bounds – let’s not allow vandals to ruin our progress. 

Graffiti concerns

Residents have expressed concern to me at some recent graffiti vandalism in parts of the West End.    The graffiti has a distinctive ‘tag’ as evidenced by an example in Fyffe Street – see right.
 
It is disappointing to see the recurrence of graffiti as there has been relatively little in recent months and I would urge any resident who has seen anything suspicious to contact Police Scotland on 101.   
  
I have been in touch with the City Council’s Rapid Response Team about the matter.

Disgraceful graffiti vandalism slammed

I was on both Radio Tay and Wave 102 News today, speaking about the disgraceful vandalism that took place in the Glamis Road, Hazel Drive and Elliot Road area at the weekend.
 
Residents are rightly outraged at this latest spate of graffiti vandalism, coming so soon after previous vandalism in the area.    
 
I hope that any resident who may have seen anything over Saturday night/Sunday morning in the area can contact Police Scotland on 101 to help bring those responsible for this mindless vandalism to justice.
 
You can hear my comments from Wave 102 News below by clicking ‘play’ below:

More on the graffiti vandalism in Blackness Road/Glamis Road area

Today’s Courier highlighted my concerns about the graffiti vandalism that took place in the Blackness Road and Glamis Road area overnight Sunday/Monday, and the action I took informing the police and asking the City Council’s Rapid Response Team to assist with the graffiti removal.
 
I was on Radio Tay News and Wave 102 News today and will be speaking about the situation on STV News this evening.   You can hear the radio interviews by clicking ‘play’ below.
 
I am grateful to all the many residents who have been in touch with me about the vandalism and to the Rapid Response Team who were in the area today cleaning up much of the graffiti.

Concern over large amount of graffiti vandalism

I have today spoken with a large number of residents who are naturally furious at the explosion of graffiti vandalism that happened in the Blackness Road/Glamis Road area overnight.
 
Although there has been, over the years, several phases of bad spates of graffiti appearing, what happened overnight must be one of the worst examples of a large amount of graffiti spread over a wide area that I have come across.
 
The vandalism is across a large number of private garages, doors, walls and other sites as well as bus shelters and utility boxes – see some examples below taken earlier today.
This morning, I was immediately in touch with both the police and the City Council’s Rapid Response Team and council staff will tackle as much of the graffiti that residents have been unable to remove.    This afternoon, I spoke with a number of residents who have already tried removing graffiti from their property.
 
This sort of mindless vandalism is infuriating and I know that the police will put in significant effort to get those responsible identified, as they have successfully done before.   If any resident saw anything suspicious overnight in the area, they are urged to contact the Police Scotland non-emergency number 101.   Many thanks.

West End graffiti clean-up

This morning, along with local residents, members of Community Spirit Action Group that represents much of the ‘north’ of the West End Ward, local community police, City Council Rapid Response Team, community safety wardens, our West End Communities Officer, volunteers from Tesco and my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready, I took part in a graffiti clean up in the Blackness industrial area, cleaning up numerous buildings in streets like Ash Street, Douglas Street, Milne’s East Wynd and Park Street.
 
We made excellent progress over two hours and it was very kind of a local business owner who brought the team ice lollies as we worked on a rather warm (and lovely!) morning.
 
I was on Wave 102 this morning about this initiative – you can listen to the interview by clicking ‘play’ below – and below that are some photographs from today:
Some of the team from today’s graffiti clean-up
The paint rollers were great at getting large areas repainted quickly but my hair was full of paint at the end!
Some of the team in action covering up graffiti

West End Community Council meeting

Earlier this evening, I attended the latest West End Community Council meeting at which the guest speaker was Miguel Gomez Goni who, as a Spanish citizen living in Dundee, spoke about his experiences of living in our city.
 
During the community council meeting, I updated the audience about recent planning matters including the granting of planning approval for the Harris Academy project and the debate over the Parkview school site at the council’s Development Management Committee last night.
 
In the police update, PC Forrester mentioned the recent spate of graffiti, an issue I raised at Policy and Resources Committee last night.    I was given assurances that all efforts are being made to tackle this.   I have reported the most recent complaint – near the Roseangle Car Park – (see right) – to the council’s Rapid Response Team to have the graffiti cleaned off.

Extensive graffiti vandalism in Victoria Park and adjacent streets

I have slammed the mindless vandals responsible for extensive graffiti vandalism in Victoria Park and in nearby streets (Scott Street and viewing area of Logie Avenue).   It is thought the vandalism occurred overnight Friday/Saturday.
 
Over the weekend, I reported the extensive vandalism to the police and also to the City Council’s Rapid Response Team to get the graffiti cleaned up.   See examples of the graffiti below:
After months of very little of a graffiti issue, it is thoroughly disappointing to see this sort of mindless activity take place at the weekend.     Some of the graffiti is offensive so I hope the council can clean it off as soon as possible but I am concerned about how viable it will be to try to remove the mess on the trees in Victoria Park.   A resident has also advised me that a van was also graffitied.   It is utterly stupid, mindless and criminal activity.
 
I have asked the police to consider deploying mobile CCTV and would ask if any resident saw any suspicious activity at the park or in surrounding streets, it would be greatly appreciated if they could speak with the local police.

Getting things done … Baxter Street and Rosebery Street

Residents have brought to my attention the mass of graffiti on the empty shop unit at the corner of Rosebery Street and Baxter Street – see right.
 
I have raised this with the City Council’s Rapid Response Unit asking that the graffiti be removed.
 
As this is not the first time there have been a graffiti issue at this location, I have asked if repainting the corner  in anti-graffiti paint may be possible.  
 
We have seen a significant improvement in the past year in terms of stamping out graffiti in the West End and it is important that all instances of graffiti are removed as soon as they appear.

Superb community spirit across the West End!

Earlier today, around 70 of us spent four hours litter picking and removing graffiti right across the West End – from Lochee Road in the north right down to Riverside Drive in the south.

Helpers included local residents, community groups, local businesses including Barnetts Motor Group and Tesco Riverside, persons on the Community Payback Scheme, local church groups including Jericho House and Mormon Helping Hands and a group of volunteer students from the University of Dundee.

It was great to see such a large group of local people coming together to remove graffiti and litter from the West End.    Local residents want the West End to remain a lovely place to live and work in and this huge voluntary effort shows the extent of good community spirit across the West End.

I would like to thank everyone – residents, community groups, businesses, the churches, Community Payback and all others who have helped.    I’d also particularly like to highlight the huge effort put together to co-ordinate the clean up that was done by Trudy Cunningham, Environment & Sustainability Officer at the University of Dundee.   Trudy’s hard-work and great enthusiasm has been vital in making this community clean-up event a success.

Here’s a few photos from today:

Some of the team at the start of the day
And … some more of the volunteers!
Barnetts Motor Group Team!
Trudy was offering a prize for the most unusual item found – I’ve nominated this – found by Alistair  Gibb of Community Spirit Action Group (left) who found this in Roseangle!
Some of the team at our lunchtime break!

The Great West End Clean Up!

On Wednesday 16th May, there will be a great clean-up of litter and clean-off of graffiti right across the West End.

Building on an initiative by the University of Dundee as part of Keep Scotland Tidy’s National Spring Clean (see below), I have now secured support from the staff at a major West End business, numerous local residents (thanks folks!) and the Community Payback Scheme.    The West End Community Council and Community Spirit Action Group have signed up, as has one of the local churches.

It will be a huge effort right across the West End to remove graffiti and get rid of litter – we are already at over 70 volunteers – so please indicate your support by e-mailing westendcleanup@frasermacpherson.org.uk – many thanks.

Wednesday …

Today’s “Courier” covered the criticism by “Scottish Friends of Israel” of the motion I have placed on the City Council’s Policy & Resources Committee next Monday.    As I said to the Courier:

“I have raised this issue in light of my concerns over the continuing plight of the Palestinian people and of the humanitarian situation caused by Israel’s continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“The Gaza blockade by Israel has brought terrible hardship to Gaza’s one and a half million citizens.   I agree with the International Committee of the Red Cross which has made clear that Israel is in violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law.

“I am rather concerned by the use of some selective quotes by Stanley Grossman of Scottish Friends of Israel to suggest there is not a humanitarian crisis in Gaza when this is far from the case.    There has been a huge level of concern shown by people across the world about the plight of the people of Gaza and I would draw Mr Grossman’s attention to the concerns raised by respected organisations such as the Red Cross and Oxfam.

“I have raised this matter as it is important that Dundee City Council, as with other local authorities, has an ethical procurement policy.    It is very clear from feedback from many constituents that they too are concerned for the plight of the people of Gaza and it is to be hoped that, with international pressure, Israel will lift its blockade of the Gaza strip.”

Tonight’s Evening Telegraph covered the efforts made at the weekend to clean up graffiti in the West End and my praise for all who got involved in removing graffiti on Saturday.

On STV news – campaigning against graffiti vandalism

I took part tonight in the STV news, highlighting the concerns of West End residents about graffiti vandalism.

I have reported the graffiti highlighted to the City Council, Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Water for action to get it removed.

There’s another community initiative to tackle the graffiti issue in the West End this June, following the super effort by residents and others last year.   If you wish more details, please contact me at fraser@frasermacpherson.org.uk

… and Sunday …

Further to my item yesterday about the disgraceful graffiti vandalism of a resident’s van and other damage in the early hours of Saturday morning, I had a very useful discussion with our local Police Inspector this morning about these incidents.   I am reassured that Tayside Police is putting in considerable resource to apprehend those responsible.   Residents are rightly sick and tired of this sort of destructive and pointless behaviour.
I had an update from the Head of Waste Management this morning about the bin collection situation in the West End, as follows :

 

” … there are still pockets of work to be completed in the West End as there is in other parts of the city as a result of the bad weather.   Our plan of action this week is to start Monday’s work and complete that before we move on to Tuesday’s collection service. Where we cannot get refuse collection vehicles in streets, and there are some which are still impassable, we will look at alternative ways of getting refuse collected.  … our plan is to try and get all domestic waste routes completed by the end of the week.”

Saturday update

A  very busy Saturday and I start with a thank you to the City Council’s Chief Executive David Dorward who took the trouble to call me on a Saturday to discuss winter maintenance concerns in the West End that I had raised with him.   

And thanks also to the residents in Hillside Terrace who knocked on other residents’ doors to get cars off the street to allow the snow plough in – and to the Roads Maintenance Partnership Manager at Tayside Contracts who, at my request, ensured there was a plough available thereafter.  That is just one example of attempts to get untreated streets ploughed or gritted and there has been good progress in other streets too.

But there is a lot still to do across the West End – both with winter maintenance and the delayed refuse collection – and I have raised further concerns in other streets with Waste Management and with the City Engineer again today.

Following my speaking with the Evening Telegraph, the paper last night covered the continuing concern about graffiti vandalism at the Hindu Community Centre in Taylor’s Lane.     The article highlighted the graffiti vandalism that happened last weekend and the photo used was taken on a resident’s phone – he had kindly forwarded me the photo.    Naina at the Hindu Community Centre was quoted expressing her understandable concern about the on-going vandalism.

Last night, the centre was vandalised again – see above.   I have already been in touch with the Police about this.   The vandalism was quite widespread in the immediate area and including black paint (with familiar tags) splattered across a transit van in Madgalen Yard Road.     I have spoken today with the resident who owns the van – he had bought it only yesterday – and he is understandably very upset at the utterly mindless vandalism of his property.  

I have requested a discussion with our local police inspector about this situation – I can only praise the police response – they have been very proactive on the graffiti vandalism issue, but this continued vandalism is now a very real concern.    A local resident and I are also requesting a meeting with the Procurator Fiscal about how graffiti vandalism is handled within the fiscal’s service.

On Wave 102 news this morning …

I was also on Wave 102 News this morning – again about the latest graffiti vandalism in the Perth Road area.    Go to http://tinyurl.com/wave102graffiti
 to listen.  The Waste Management Department has advised me – “Fraser I’ll also ask Rapid Response to visit the Perth Road for this fresh batch of graffiti reported at the start of the week.”

A number of us were to be undertaking another graffiti clean up dayin the West End on Saturday – we’ve now had to cancel this because of the weather but hope to reschedule it for the near future.

Graffiti Action Day – 3

Following the two successful days last month when residents, councillors, council staff, police and others did a great voluntary effort to clean off graffiti across the West End, we held another “anti-graffiti” morning today, getting rid of graffiti at sites adjacent to parts of Perth Road – such as this (see above).

Another highly successful and productive morning, ridding the area of much graffiti mess.