Bristol City Council’s New Graffiti Policy

It’s not completely news this, as Cllr Gary Hopkins alluded to it before over the whole ‘battle of the boards’ thing, but today’s news is likely to be about the council developing a new ‘street art’ policy, into which the idea of the public voting online to keep or remove work done has reared its head again. Specifically, their blurb says;

Measures proposed to achieve targets include the following.

To remover (sic) offensive and unsightly graffiti. However the Council will produce a new street art policy, which will seek to define and support the display of Public Art, where people tell us that murals or artworks make a positive contribution to the local environment and where the property owner has raised no objection.

Genuinely great to see the council having a more open mind these days, but without knowing more detail, there seem to be some real problems with the idea;

  • What is ‘offensive graffiti’? Has anyone seen any out there?
  • How will ‘unsightly’ graffiti be defined, and isn’t that an incredibly odd road for a council to be going down, to become an art critic?
  • Since the online vote about keeping the Banksy on Park Street was a massive voodoo poll,  how will these new votes be run? Can we still vote early and vote often?

More to the point though, doesn’t this new policy seem to suggest that public support and the property owner’s consent will be needed for work to stay. If you want your wall painted, will you need to make sure everyone around you likes it? Can we now start complaining about other things we don’t like the look of round the city and have them removed then, billboards for example?

It is good the council wants to have a more informed policy about this stuff these days, but hopefully they’ll be consulting on this policy before it becomes set in stone.

What do you think?


Filed under Bristol

13 responses to “Bristol City Council’s New Graffiti Policy

  1. Kineta

    Bristol City Council want to ask people to vote on photo’s of Garffiti/Street Art, to say if they should stay on the walls or not, the problrm is Graffiti/ Street Art changes all the time.

    If BCC want the public uploading pics of their Fav graff to vote on, this could be a bit pointless. Member’s of the public may not know what is legal or not. Plus pieces in certain areas changes so quickly…

    Unless the council upload their own pics of illegal graf and then have people vote if it stays or not?…

    The next councillors meeting is 15th September – lobby your councillor, MP or email

    If you would like changes made within the city regarding Urban Art- now is the time to do it…..

  2. its a bit of a joke..big brother backwards or x-factor upsidedown!

    time for a re-think



  3. Kineta

    I’ve not long sent this to all Cllr’s and MP’s of Bristol

    “Dear Sir/Madam

    I am enquiring when will the Bristol City Council Graffiti Policy be updated?

    Also The back of Bristol South Swimming has been cleaned of graffiti, the workmen doing this the job said that there will be boarding placed on the railing. Is there any truth in this? If so, when will it happen?

    With regards to Graffiti/Urban Street Art, this is what Bristol is well known for. The success of the Children of the Can book, Crimes of Passion and The Banksy vs Bristol Museum Exhibition, it has put Bristol on the ‘map’ in a very big way, added more tourism and money into Bristol’s economy, and not forgetting the press coverage of all three events at National and International level.

    Members of the public have been downloading The Bristol Graffiti Maps, when they have come to visit the Banksy exhibition’s and taken a tour of the city to view the Urban art for themselves.

    The most popular area they have visited are Stokes Croft, which the PRSC have put a great deal of effort into making the area a better place and improving what was once an eyesore, into many works of Urban Art for people to enjoy.

    Lakota night club, has been vastly improved on the outside, with art work from the likes of FLX, Cheo, Soker, 3Dom, Epok, Sepr and Jody, all of whom are renowned for there art work in Bristol. They have also exhibited there work at the Crime of Passion at RWA and Weapon of Choice Gallery.

    Dame Emily Park, at Dean Lane is another place people have visited, some fantastic artist’s have painted the walls in the park over the years, and continue to do so. It’s also nice when members of the public go to the park and watch the artist paint. The artists are always happy to stop and talk to people of all ages, and answer questions.

    The boards along side the industrial museum are another place people have gone to see Urban Art, along with Mina Road tunnel, this is just to name a few of the many places in Bristol.

    I see Tagging as Graffiti, which is annoying. Bristol needs more practise boards for Urban Artist’s, as they only have the boards on Ashley Road to use, and more legal places in Bristol for the artist to paint, this may help in the reduction of tagging.

    Many of these Urban Artist’s not only paint the wall’s and boards of Bristol, they also paint canvas’, some screen print t-shirts, some work with youth clubs and schools, teaching the youth of today, the history of Graffiti/Urban Art, other’s like FLX have wrote a book on the Bristol Urban Art scene.

    Urban Art is free for people to enjoy, people that can not afford to go out and buy a Banksy or a Damien Hurst, will take photographs of what they see and like. Urban Art changes on a weekly basis, some times daily depending on where you look in Bristol. So by asking the people of Bristol to vote on which pieces should stay or be removed, seems rather pointless.

    There are many area’s of Bristol that would benefit from Urban Art that changes on a regular basis, it would be rather boring for the public to see the same piece of art for months on end. Urban Street Art, adds a smile to your face when you walk by, it brightens up a dull day, its something the people of Bristol have to respect and enjoy, most of all – it’s free!”

  4. FLX ONE

    @ Kineta
    Here! Here!
    BCC: we don’t respect your taste or your policy making, just give us more walls please

  5. Kineta

    this is a postive reply……………..


    I understand there will be a review of graffitti policy shortly. though there is nothing on the Council web site yet.

    As you say we need to make a disctinction between ugly ‘tagging’ and what is street art that is valuable. In some places it has been possible to reduce the former, by putting street art in (for instance in Happy Lane off Ashley Down Road). Part of the problem historically has been that contactors have not always known the difference, but I think ways cn be found to get round the problem.

    Steve Comer
    Liberal Democrat City Councillor for Eastville

    • bristolgraffiti

      Good response indeed. Is all tagging ugly though, what if someone’s got a particularly dope handstyle? :-p

      Most interesting is the view that ‘street art’ can reduce tagging, which seems the exact opposite of views that have come from other parts of the council in recent months. Good stuff.

  6. Maybe they could make a sticker with ‘particularly dope handstyle’ to put on decent tags…. then people would leave them there…

  7. sorse

    is this what its come to…. getting every1 to vote in…. hope this approach could happen for all the advertisements everywhere, all the politicians looking after themselves vote them out on a weekly basis…. feed them to the lions…. (lets keep that out though otherwise the art will be removed….) lets have the wall space yes… but every1s view of art might differ…. Freedom Expressed Affects Reality…..
    Images are constantly used to sell us items no problem as revenue created…. but some art is a bit dark and would therefore be instantly removed…
    hope it works out tho…… just better keep mine fluffy tho…. i’ll do anything to stay on the wall!!! ffs

  8. Kineta

    Hi Kineta,

    Bristol’s Graffiti policy will be updated soon and there has been a good deal of publicity about it:

    You will notice that the Lib Dem administration in Bristol intends to take an open minded approach to graffiti, and let the people decide what stays and what goes. This is in stark contrast to other urban council, such as Hackney, who are stuck in the past and just destroyed a classic Banksy piece.


    Dr Mark Wright
    Liberal Democrat Councillor for Cabot, Bristol
    Cabinet Member for Housing, Service Improvement and IT

  9. Kineta

    Dear Kineta,

    Thank you for getting in touch with Stephen regarding the Council’s Graffiti policy. As I hope you can understand, he does receive a large amount of correspondence and has therefore asked me to respond on his behalf.

    As you correctly surmise, such a policy is the responsibility of the City Council rather than Parliament and I have therefore forwarded your e-mail to Gary Hopkins, Executive Member for Environment and Community Safety, who holds the portfolio for such areas. I am sure he will be in touch soon with this comments on the issues you raise.

    Thanks for taking the time to write to us,

    Best wishes

    Fi Hance


  10. Bilko

    …or you could just see what he thinks at the BBC.

    How did this become national news?

  11. Kineta

    It was in the Guardian the other week, as for Cllr Hopkins – NO COMMENT!

    There is a full Council meeting on the 15th where they will be dicussing the Graff Policy, then it goes to cabinet, where they will banter about what they want


  12. Well this is getting very odd! Ok so a vote to keep certain street works – no reason that these can be worked over – and anyways what about the designs which are on private property such as “clockwork” club & “the wave” on jamerica street by mm13 & dan

    I feel its a good thing & if only will expand the street art scene 10 fold – but, i don’t trust the council

    still great it hit the national news…time for dialogue


    Jeremy & Roy

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