Historic area of Norwich targeted in graffiti clean-up

One of Norwich's most historic quarters has undergone a major clean-up as part of an ongoing campaign to rid the city of the blight of graffiti.

The King Street area, which contains the Grade I listed Dragon Hall and is close to the city's Riverside leisure complex, attracts thousands of visitors every year.

But derelict areas close to the medieval trading hall, built in 1427 by wealthy merchant Robert Toppes, have also proved popular with yobs who have covered the buildings in illegal graffiti tags.

Much of those tags now though have been removed by volunteers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who have targeted the area following the launch of the Evening News's Graffitibusters campaign.

The campaign, which is being supported by Norwich police, Central Norwich Citizens Forum, Norwich City Council and the Norwich City Centre Partnership, has urged people to donate money, paint or time to help keep the streets clean.

Six volunteers, including a young offender who had been ordered to help out as part of his punishment, joined PCSOs Luke Phillips, Melanie Duckett and Steve Smith at yesterday's clean-up following similar events elsewhere in the city.

PCSO Duckett said it was 'such a shame' the area had been blighted by graffiti. She said: 'You've got such a lovely building in Dragon Hall which is a listed building and then next door to it which is an eyesore.'

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But she hoped the clean-up, which showed 'community spirit in action', would have a positive and long-lasting impact on the area.

She said. 'People do want to help, they do want to clean up their neighbourhood - Norwich is a fine city and we want to help it continue to be. Now we've got clean walls we're going to monitor it.'

PCSO Phillips said the area, which forms of their beat, was given a clean-up after being identified as being one of the worst areas for graffiti.

He said: 'We had quite a few neighbours come out and ask what we were doing and told us it was really good we were doing it, so we can tell its having a big impact in the community.'

Jodi Walker, 30, from Trafford Road, Norwich, was one of those to offer her services as part of the clean-up after having helped out at the Pottergate event last week.

Miss Walker, who works for Aviva and will also be helping at another clean up at Rose Lane later this week, said: 'Graffiti looks horrible around the city and I thought it would be good to get involved and make it look a bit better.'

<t> The next clean-up takes place on Sunday, July 3, from 8.30am to 11.30am at the Rose Lane car park in Norwich.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

To find out more log onto www.eveningnews24.co.uk


How to get involved

You can also help the campaign by:

Sending your donations to Graffitibusters, Central Norwich Citizens' Forum, 2 Roaches Court,

Norwich, NR3 1HJ. Cheques should be made payable to Central Norwich Citizens' Forum.

Donating paint – Send your paint, unopened tins or opened tins that are properly sealed, to Sgt Peter Sharples, City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Bethel Street Police Station, Norwich, NR2 1NN.

Volunteering – anyone interested in volunteering to help attend clean- up sessions should contact Sgt Peter Sharples at Bethel Street Police Station via 0845 456 4567 or write to Sgt Peter Sharples, City Centre Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Bethel Street Police Station, Norwich, NR2 1NN.

Reporting graffiti – call Norwich City Council on 0344 980 3333, email info@norwich.gov.uk or log onto www.norwich.gov.uk/webapps/atoz/service_page.asp?id=1562