Racist graffiti to be taken off private Northampton buildings for free

Any graffiti on private property will be removed with written consent from the owner
Any graffiti on private property will be removed with written consent from the owner

A crackdown on graffiti in Northampton will see people able to ask the council to remove it without cost to themselves.

The redoubling of efforts to clean up the town comes with a pledge to target offensive words and images that have a racial element.

Mike Hallam, cabinet member for the environment, said: "You can judge a town by how it deals with racist graffiti.

"Formalising our policy sends out a message that we just won't tolerate it."

The motion will be put to full council at the Guildhall on Monday and will be supported by the Labour group.

It was prompted after a businessman in Grafton Street Industrial Estate had the outside of his unit targeted with racist slogans.

The case came to the attention of ward councillor and former Labour group leader Les Marriott as the businessman was having trouble getting council help in cleaning up the building.

Councillor Marriott said: "They just painted over it, it took three weeks and he was wrongly told it would cost him.

"This motion is basically affirming that we will do a quality job and at no cost to the victim. That applies to houses as well as businesses.

"Doing so is the basis of being a good council."

Subject to a vote next week, the formal policy will state that the council will remove the graffiti as long as the owner gives permission in writing.

The council will also urge people to report culprits and the location of graffiti on both public and private property when they see it, so it can be removed.

The motion also promises to "continue the commitment to do all it can to remove graffiti in the town, including working closely with the police across the borough, Northampton Town Centre BID, Network Rail, and owners of other affected properties, to try to catch offenders."