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?