The side of Norwich that’s not so fine

St Faiths Lane graffiti

St Faiths Lane graffiti - Credit: Archant

Vicky Manthorpe gives her view on the side of our city that's not so fine.

An urban space is by its nature a shared space and equality of usage together with good manners is essential if it is to benefit all. The issue of 'A' boards has rumbled on for years. At one point the Norwich Society joined forces with disability groups to pressure the city to observe its own bylaws: the Highways Act 1980, section 137 which says it is an offence to 'in any way wilfully obstruct the free passage along the highways'.

Many people have been irritated over the city council's slow response and one of my more exasperated correspondents suggested that the city officers simply 'do not have the bottle to intervene' and that they were 'failing in their duty, over the public interest.'

Now, at last, the city is drafting up a new regulation for 'A' boards (Evening News, February 19). Two of our members walked the city centre with the planning officer involved and will be checking on progress further down the line. Let us hope that this will be a policy that the city's officers can enforce and that we can have less cluttered streets. There are plenty of other more imaginative and aesthetically pleasing ways of drawing attention to your premises and with so many 'A' boards it is often impossible to distinguish which shop they relate to anyway.

Unfortunately, the new regulations will not tackle the 'A' boards in the Royal Arcade because this is private property so we will have to approach the owners directly to persuade them not to mar this architectural gem with obstructive advertising. It is already a constant battle to keep them from putting up signs all over Skipper's exquisite little masterpiece of Art Nouveau.

Meanwhile pockets of graffiti are on the increase again. Someone or several people have been busy with spray cans on the doors and walls in St Faith's Lane. These 'painters' don't care about damage and defacement to historic properties or the visual vandalism – as shown in these pictures. It's extremely unfair on the owners, some of whose properties face the Close, but something does need to be done about cleaning the tagging off. This very ancient and charming lane looks terrible.

When I went to look at the snowdrops that some of our members had planted in the churchyard at St Margaret's on St Benedict's I was delighted to see this public work coming into flower – and the display will increase year by year. But, in contrast to the enhancement, I noticed the beds were littered with small items of garbage – cans, bottle tops and old tissues. Since the churchyard gates are often locked, people must be chucking items over the railings.

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Surely it is not too much to ask that when people find themselves with rubbish in hand and there is no bin close by, that they put the items in a pocket or bag until they find a bin or that they take it home to their own waste bin. That's basic good manners.

We are all in this city together.