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'The joke has worn thin': call to cull NDR's cartoon cats

PUBLISHED: 16:24 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:46 25 November 2019

Graffiti cats have been painted on the bridges of the NDR. Pic: Ellie Wilkinson.

Graffiti cats have been painted on the bridges of the NDR. Pic: Ellie Wilkinson.

Archant

The graffitied cats painted along the route of the Norwich Northern Distributor Road will not be removed any time soon - because council leaders say they are "not offensive".

One of the cross-looking cartoon cats. Pic: Ella Wilkinson.One of the cross-looking cartoon cats. Pic: Ella Wilkinson.

The cross-looking cartoon cats - and a handful of ghosts - appeared on bridges and road signs along the route of the £205m road, also known as the Broadland Northway, earlier this year.

The pictures are similar to stencilled rats which appeared in cities and towns when the world's most famous street artist Banksy began working in the 1980s.

When the cats were first reported in March, Norfolk County Council said it had no immediate plans to remove the graffiti - and dozens of them are still along the road.

But Liberal Democrat county councillor Dan Roper said residents have been left irritated. At a meeting of the full county council on Monday, he said "the joke has now worn thin" and asked if the council would take action.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Dan Roper. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Liberal Democrat county councillor Dan Roper. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

He said: "Over the past 12 months, graffiti has appeared on all of the bridges and some road signs along the Broadland Northway.

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"Some of this was clearly part of an orchestrated campaign, with it receiving local media coverage and causing some initial amusement.

"However, graffiti is illegal, it has irritated many residents and, among others who initially found it amusing the joke has now worn thin.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for highways and infrastructure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMartin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for highways and infrastructure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"Are there any plans for the graffiti to be removed?"

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure replied that there were no specific plans to clean away the cats - and it would eventually be done when other work is carried out on the road.

He said: "Currently, our policy is to remove any offensive graffiti as soon as possible.

"As the graffiti is not considered to be offensive, we aim to carry out the work in conjunction with other maintenance work."

The council had previously said the people behind the artwork were risking putting themselves and others in danger through their work.

The council had warned: "We would strongly advise against anyone putting their own and others' personal safety at risk on bridges or near fast moving traffic."

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