Tuesday 12 August 2008

More Government By Tickbox

I can see I'm going to have to create a new tag for this:
When a group of pensioners noticed graffiti had been sprayed on a wall at the bottom of their gardens, they hoped their council would do something to tidy it up.

So they were astounded when local authority bureaucrats threatened them with court action and a £1,000 fine unless they cleared it up themselves.

Some of the pensioners were reduced to tears after receiving stern letters from a Bury Council official warning them they had 21 days to remove the mess.
And this was a Tory-led council...
The council says the residents have a duty to keep their community clean and leaving the graffiti on the wall could lead to them being prosecuted under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

This law is normally used against major landowners who refuse to clean up their land.
But it's obviously just as ok to send the letter out to a group of pensioners who are unable to physically remove it themselves.

Personally, I suggest they call in a contractor and deduct the fee from their council tax. Let the council take them to court. If they do get put behind bars, at least they'll get better treatment.


John M Ward said...

There has been for years a legal problem regarding graffiti on private property. Only if it was racist could it be cleaned by the council (or its contractor). Here, we employ a team ourselves.

My understanding is that this has changed in recent months; though the council has the right to charge for cleaning private property (so that its does not fall a charge on the Council Tax). This seems broadly reasonable, as it has tended to be commercial properties that have been affected, in the main.

I don't know the answer to this: I'm sure it wasn't the pensioners' fault that it happened to them, it isn't the council's fault (apart from not keeping up with changes in the law!) and we should really be having a go at those who produced the graffit, rather than those left to clean up after them.

That, I think, would be a better and more useful bit of targeting...

Anonymous said...

"...we should really be having a go at those who produced the graffiti..."

Yup! Let them clean it up, when caught. And if they aren't caught, well, 'community punishment' is all the rage, rthey say, and there's plenty of little scrotes playing PS2 in youth detention...