Thursday, 17 November 2016

Have Some Respect

Every few weeks I spend Thursday mornings on a litter pick in Orton Waterville with a group of volunteers (you are welcome to join us, the more the merrier). While I wait for the rest of the group to arrive I take the opportunity have a look around the village. We have a few projects on the go that I like to check up on, I often bump into people I know (and today was no exception) and sometimes I come across things that I'd really rather not.

Someone, or maybe a couple of people, with not much talent and even less respect has sprayed graffiti on the side of the parade of shops that faces St Mary's churchyard.

Graffiti at Waterville
It's Waterville, not water-vile.
Knock it on the head.

Posted by Julie Howell on Thursday, 17 November 2016

I do talk to people who have a greater understanding of street art than I do and I know that tagging is all about being seen and on the level where tagging is perhaps the only means some people feel they have to be seen or heard in their community I can just about muster a begrudging tolerance (littering and speeding hurt our environment and our people more directly). But these particular tags are seen by people visiting the the graves of their loved ones or paying their respects to the fallen at the war memorial. It's easy to call all graffiti a senseless and selfish act without trying to understand the motivation behind it... but come on. Outside the churchyard in a conservation village - really?

Graffiti is a deliberate act. It isn't carelessness. It isn't caused by people who can't be bothered to clean up after themselves. Graffiti is created by people who have made some effort to equip themselves with spray paint and then find locations to use it. Thought and effort go into graffiti and in a way this makes it even more offensive.

Whether it's graffiti, litter, fly tipping, dog mess or speeding, there is a horrible blight on almost every area of Peterborough at the moment that is hurting our community as much as our environment. Many of us go out everyday in all weathers to remove litter, report fly tipping and graffiti, etc. (and that's in addition to all the work Peterborough City Council's teams of street cleaners do). If we didn't do all this voluntary cleaning, I shudder to think how bad things would be. In our aspiring 'Environmental City' some people, for whatever their reasons, are letting us down.

Broken litter stick
I picked litter so vigorously this morning
I broke the stick

Video transcript: Hello, I’ve come out to Orton Waterville this morning to check out something that was raised by residents recently. Just let me show you where I am. If I turn the camera around you can see I’m at the beautiful St Mary’s Church in Waterville. But if we just spin around and look at the side of the shop directly opposite, as you can see somebody else has had other ideas about how to keep this place looking lovely and they’re quite different ideas to all of the residents’ and indeed everybody else really. Look at the state of it. We’ve got a real problem with graffiti at the moment right across the ward but this is just beyond disrespectful isn’t it really? We tend to think about Waterville village as being a place that’s spared this as people have respect for the church and also it’s a conservation village but apparently not so that’s really disappointing. We’re seeing what we can do to get that graffiti removed as soon as possible and to do something about it happening ever again.

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