Just one week after opening the brand new skate park in Stoke Newington’s Clissold park is covered in graffiti. The skate ramps are just part of the £9m National Lottery-funded re-vamp of the park. John Hudson, the Secretary of Clissold Park Users’ Group said: “I’m saddened that this has happened.
“The park is for everyone and if people deface or damage it, it’s to everyone’s loss.
“I will work and hope everyone else will, to discourage and prevent it in future – you want to make sure people intervene if kids are doing stupid things.”
Research shows that people tend to feel more vulnerable and fear crime levels in places vandalised by graffiti.
The skating surface at the wheels park will have to be re-painted once the graffiti is removed.
Hackney Council’s environmental enforcement team have investigated the graffiti and aim to remove non-offensive graffiti within two weeks, while offensive graffiti is cleaned within a day.
Hackney Council cabinet member, Jonathan McShane, said that park rangers will patrol the skate park more often to deter vandals.
“The skate park is proving really popular with hundreds of skaters using it in the first week, so it’s a real shame that some people have decided to vandalise this fantastic park,” he added.
However not all Stoke Newington residents feel concerned: “I rather expect a skate park to have graffitti on it. It goes with the territory” remarked one middle-aged passerby. “It would be a waste of time to take it off – they will just paint it again. Its a way of making it feel it belongs to them – not the council.”
Peter Makarski, 48, of the Three Amigos Skateboard shop in Camden and a local Stokie resident. He begged to differ: “There is a place for graffiti but not in skate parks. It holds moisture of the surface and makes the surface slippy.” He added that: “Skaters come to skate, not to spray. None of this is done by skaters.”
Sunning himself on the sidelines, local rapper Brotherman, 26, said: “Graffiti is a statement of free speech. This park is built for the youth. It reflects their culture. Its fine as long is it isn’t offensive. If they clean it off people will just come and do it again. Its a waste of money.”
A group of ten years olds (who should have been at school) were mainly in favour saying: “it makes the atmosphere better,” though one said that he was happy with the colourful writing but didn’t like the black stuff.
Local mums with their buggies did not seem to be deterred by the grafitti and were happily enjoying the spectacle.
Join the debate and let Hackney council know whether they should take it off it leave it there?