‘This isn’t graffiti, it’s mindless vandalism’

A park which has been plastered with spay paint is tackling the problem by holding its own graffiti workshops.

Hillyfields Community Park in Gillingham has become the subject of “mindless vandals” who have scrawled across the Green Flag site – causing damage costing £1,500 a year to clear up.

Cll Cooper talking about the graffiti problems in the area

The graffiti is being daubed across signs, benches and bins, and a local councillor says as fast as it is being cleaned off, it is appearing again.

Cllr Pat Cooper, who started up the Friends of Hillyfields Park group, said: “I’ve had enough of it. This isn’t graffiti is it just mindless vandalism. These are not works of art.

“There are lots of names on the tags, so people may know who there are. To me it looks as if there’s a group of people who seem to think they have ownership of the park and it seems rather threatening.

Some of the graffiti at Hillyfields Community Park in Gillingham

“A photo of one of the boards with the latest graffiti on it was shared online with the caption ‘The best one yet’ it is like they are laughing at us.”

Some of the signs being targeted were only installed earlier this year. One information board by the Rosebery Road entrance has been cleaned so many times the glass has gone opaque and you cannot read what is underneath. The glass panel will cost £300 to replace.

Cllr Cooper added: “These boards cost money. We can’t keep replacing these things so I’m really appealing to these people who are doing this graffiti to please stop doing it. It is unsightly and it is anti-social behaviour.”

The bins, benches and signs have been targeted

The park has held Green Flag status – the mark of a quality green space – for a number of years but Cllr Cooper warned it could be at risk of losing it.

“We had our first Green Flag about seven years ago and we are very proud of our Green Flag status,” she said. “But the problem is if the judges come round and see all of this graffiti, we could lose our Green Flag status.”

The park will be holding a graffiti event on July 25, 26 and 27 when young people are being encouraged to go along to take part in workshops to create “proper” graffiti. There will be large boards for participants to decorate with their artwork.

This information board was only installed in April Picture: Pat Cooper

Cllr Pat Cooper said: “We want to show the good side of graffiti verses the bad that is being done at the park. This is a proper graffiti event where young people can come and do proper graffiti on boards which will possibly go on display in the high street.

“We wanted to create something nice in the park, instead of this awful graffiti.”

Visit the Friends of Hillyfields Gillingham Facebook site for updates on the graffiti event. The workshops will take place from 11am to 3pm.

Kent Medway Jenni Horn


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