Hackney Council has confirmed that graffiti on Stoke Newington’s new skate park will continue to be cleaned up, even if it is spray-painted again and again.
When the graffiti first appeared, Eastlondonlines reported the council was aiming to remove it within two weeks.
Some skaters welcomed the decision, arguing the moisture the paint would absorb would make the concrete bowls slippery.
But there were many skate park users and local residents who felt it was a waste of money cleaning the paint off when it would just be sprayed again.
Despite this, Hackney Council has confirmed plans to remove the paint are still going ahead.
Asked how much it would cost, the council’s spokesperson replied: “It will come out of annual budget for removing graffiti and will be removed as any other graffiti would be.”
Pressed on whether it would be removed again if the graffiti continues, the spokesperson said: “Yes, it will continue to be removed.”
At the skate park, the reaction was mixed.
Skateboarder Aaron Sparks said: “I think it’s a waste of money to clean it off. It’ll probably get done again… cleaning it will cut down the amount of time the park can actually be used.”
A father of one, who did not want to be named, said: “When I saw it I just thought it looked bad. They should commission somebody to do a proper job. Then it will look good and stay there because people will respect it.”
Graffiti artist and skateboarder ‘H’ also said his main problem with the graffiti was that it was not very good.
“Most people down here are just kids with a can of car paint,” the 35-year-old said.
“What’s the point? That is just vandalism. You know, there’s one side of graffiti that’s pro-vandalism and one side that’s pro-art, if you like.
“I’ve got nothing against the pro-vandalism side in a way. If you’ve got something to say and a point to make, if you want to show your frustration at the government or public transport or whatever it is fine, but painting a skate park. You’re taking the piss out of something good.
” I can’t see any justification for tagging it or painting it the way they have.”
Asked if he would like to see it cleaned up, H said: “Seeing as it’s only got a few pieces at the minute, if you could buff it, buff it and keep it clean.
“They’re talking about painting over it. The kids will paint over it and you’re just going to have to paint on top of that.
“That’s what happened in Finsbury. It’s had so many layers of paint it will just be paint forever.”
H said without knowing exactly how much it costs to clean it each time it was difficult to know whether or not it was worth it.
“I don’t know what it costs,” he said. “It’s bound to be quite a lot to clean this to be quite honest. Is this worth the money? It kinda depends what else you could do with the money.
“If you put up a wall and have a designated graffiti area… You know, invest money in getting kids painting, getting kids to use their creativity… There’s better ways of spending it. But then, at the same time, if you clean it once and people don’t paint it then it’s money well spent.”
Hackney Council now has a matter of days to remove the paint if it is to meet its pledge to remove all graffiti within a fortnight.
Listen to the interview with skateboarder and graffiti artist ‘H’.