Leeds City Council plan a new approach to tackle graffiti in Hyde Park

There is an abundance of graffiti and street art within Leeds, especially in Hyde park and Burley.

Recycling bins covered in graffiti and taggings in Hyde Park, Leeds.
“I do wish that these people who come would give a thought of the feelings of those who live in the area, it’s just not fair at all”- Councillor Al Garthwaite

Leeds City Council currently have a zero tolerance graffiti policy, but graffiti artists within the area believe there needs to be spaces available for their work.

Hyde Park Labour councillor Al Garthwaite said that graffiti known as ‘tagging’ “looks incredibly messy and not at all welcoming or pleasant for residents or visitors and it has a bad knock on effect”.

Garthwaite said she will be calling a meeting in January to “come together to decide on a strategy for gradual a clean off”.

The council’s attitude towards tagging is that it is dragging the atmosphere of Hyde Park down.

Local graffiti artist @thenorthernoriginal believes that the council have a “funny” take on graffiti.

“You’ve got Leeds City Council who literally think that somebody’s put a graffiti tag up where there’s just been a drug deal and that drug dealers are the taggers… they’re just wrong on so many levels,” he said.

The local artist implies that many graffiti artists within the area are misunderstood.

However, Garthwaite added: “Street art is another matter and what we’re looking into is a number of different things.

“There’s various people who want to do actual murals which is great.”

She also commented on legal walls exclaiming: “there’s a sub group of the anti- graffiti group who are looking into places for a legal wall now. We have been investigating whether we could use some bits of Leeds parks that are not really used for anything much else.”

@thenorthernoriginal, explained Hyde Park and Burley are a “hub for graffiti, mainly because there’s students in the area coming and going.

There’s always a fresh load of people that are gonna be painting as well as the locals that paint that always tend to stay ahead of the student painters.”

Garthwaite recognises that Hyde Park is in need of a change in graffiti control tactics, councillors are trying to instil change by holding meetings and setting up areas for murals and artwork.

@thenorthernoriginal says encouraging tasteful artwork is key: “if they give it the backing, they could get that next level of artwork and street art.”

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