Are Croydon Tories Anti-Street Art?

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Tory Councillors are giving the impression that they are opposed to the street art work in the Town Centre masterminded by the RISE gallery.

At Monday’s Council meeting Cllr Perry asked Cabinet Member Toni Letts whether she believed that graffiti is an attraction to inward investment. Letts replied:

‘Graffiti’ is a catch-all term that can be applied to a range of activities. Graffiti in its most pejorative sense – when undertaken illegally on public or private property, and used to convey offensive messages – is a negative phenomenon and the council works to remove speedily any such infringements and punish those responsible. This type of graffiti clearly does nothing to improve Croydon in the eyes on potential investors. However, some graffiti falls into the category of ‘street art’, and can enhance the look and feel of a local area and make a valid contribution to the cultural landscape, in turn adding to the appeal and cachet of that area.

The council will continue to work with local artists and groups to support appropriate forms of graffiti and street art in suitable locations.’

Art or Vandalism

Cllr Phil Thomas asked Cabinet MemberWhat is graffiti? Art or Vandalism?’ After using the first para of Lett’s reply Godfrey added:

‘I am pleased that we are supporting the development of this art form, and enabling many talented people to showcase their work in Croydon through various initiatives and sites.’

Taberner House

Cllr Lynne Hale asked Godfrey whether ‘the paintwork on the hoardings around the’ Taberner House site is ‘art or graffiti?’ Godfrey replied.

‘The paintwork on the hoardings around the Taberner House Development Site is art. Graffiti is a catch-all term that can be applied to a range of activities. Graffiti in its most pejorative sense – when undertaken illegally on public or private property, and used to convey offensive messages – is a negative phenomenon and the council works to remove speedily any such infringements and punish those responsible, and graffiti clearly does nothing to improve Croydon in the eyes on potential investors. Some graffiti does however fall more into the category of ‘street art’, and can enhance the look and feel of a local area and make a valid contribution to the cultural landscape, in turn adding to the appeal and cachet of that area…..’

‘The art in the Queen’s Gardens is in sharp contrast to the cultural vandalism of the previous Tory administration. Where you closed down the David Lean Cinema, closed down the Warehouse Theatre and sold off the Riesco collection, this Labour administration is putting arts and culture at the heart of Croydon’s regeneration and will continue to be ambitious for culture.’

Graffiti Removal

In terms of non-street art graffiti removal in the Fairfield polling district FA2 in October, November and December 2015 and for the same three months in 2014, Cabinet member Mark Watson told Tory Leader Tim Pollard:

October 2014 = 31 graffiti jobs

November 2014 = 56 graffiti jobs

December 2014 = 30 graffiti jobs

October 2015 = 55 graffiti jobs

November 2015 = 63 graffiti jobs.

December 2015 = 73 graffiti jobs

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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