How shutters are being used to try and tackle graffiti issues in Ecclesall

An artist has been tasked with making a design for the shutters of Ecclesall Library to try and deter further vandalism as part of a new strategy.An artist has been tasked with making a design for the shutters of Ecclesall Library to try and deter further vandalism as part of a new strategy.
An artist has been tasked with making a design for the shutters of Ecclesall Library to try and deter further vandalism as part of a new strategy.

An artist has been tasked with making a design for the shutters of Ecclesall Library to try and deter further vandalism as part of a new strategy.

People of the area will be able to have their say on what design they would like to see at Ecclesall Library during a three-week-long public consultation.

Cllr Barbara Masters (Ecclesall, Liberal Democrats) said the ward councillors have been trying to tackle graffiti issues for some time as bus stops, bus shelters and telecom boxes have been targeted in the area.

She said it was a tough task because each organisation had to be contacted to get permission.

Some months back the then Ecclesall ward councillors – up until two weeks ago it was three Liberal Democrats – commissioned a local artist to paint the shutters on Ecclesall Library.

They have frequently been plastered with graffiti and this is part of a strategy to deter them from being targeted in future.

The idea was to install street art as taggers tend to respect them more – although, needless to say, it’s not always the case.

Cllr Masters said: “We came up with this proposal because we’ve had lots of complaints about the state of the shutters. Finally, thanks to an officer, we got that all cleaned up but to protect it we thought that if we can get the street art done, then we’d start here.”

The project is planned to start in May with a three-week consultation (simply because books are returned on a three-weekly basis) where people can decide which of the two designs presented they liked most. This will be held in the library and online.

On top of this, Cllr Masters said, they wanted younger generations to be engaged with what was happening in the area.

One of the main reasons they commissioned the artist, she added, was because the artist had experience in working with young people and developing interest among them.

“It’s not just a one-off,” Cllr Masters said who hoped it would be the start of something great.

Cllr Masters also talked about how this could drive people back to the library as during Covid social isolation became a national issue.

She said: “We know social isolation has increased with Covid so anything that encourages people to get back into the community and find out what is happening is great because a lot of the clubs (luncheon clubs, social clubs etc) stopped with Covid and they (the people) are not necessarily aware that others have taken their place – and the library is great for that!”

She added some people would say it’s just a couple of pictures on the shutters but “it’s much more than that”.

She said it’s not just the library but the plan is to improve the street scene all the way down through Hunter’s Bar where the road ends.

She admitted it would cost money – they were quoted somewhere between a couple of hundred and a few thousand pounds.

She said it was going to be paid from the councillors’ ward budget.

Ecclesall elected a Green councillor in Peter Gilbert earlier this month – replacing a Liberal Democrat councillor Roger Davison – and Cllr Masters said she hoped due to their agreement about the funding prior to the elections, the project could go ahead as they proposed

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