Published on 8th February 2023

graffiti, wall

Residents and businesses are encouraged to have their say on the council’s proposed graffiti policy, which aims to deal with and prevent graffiti within the borough.

The council is prioritising a number of town centre and wider public enhancements that will continue the revitalisation of the town. This will ensure its longer-term viability as a retail and cultural destination. Another key priority is to continue to enhance our public spaces, parks and gardens. Areas blighted by graffiti undermine these aims.

The consultation asks residents and visitors for feedback on the proposal which outlines graffiti definitions, the process and methods of removal. It also sets out how the council will work with partners to identify preventative measures and take enforcement action.

The consultation is open until 13 February 2023 and can be found on the council’s website:

Cllr Martin Horwood, cabinet member for customer and regulatory services said: “While street art can be wonderful, criminal damage in the form of graffiti is not acceptable. The real cost of graffiti can run into significant sums, and it can blight local communities.

“Our aim is to provide a clear framework for dealing with and preventing graffiti within the borough. We celebrate and welcome great street art in the right places and we all have our favourites. We support the Cheltenham Paint Festival and work proactively with local artists to support art in agreed locations and where the landowner has given consent.”

Heath Gunter, chief executive of Cheltenham BID said: “Graffiti not only detracts from the beauty of our town centre, but it also has a significant financial impact on local businesses who have to pay for its removal on their premises. We are committed to collaborating with the Council to develop preventive strategies and enforcement action.”

Sam Robinson, neighbourhood team supervisor said: "Graffiti is a challenging type of criminal damage that has its own subculture of offenders who create large pieces in a short time usually under the cover of darkness, making it difficult to catch them. It must be effectively dealt with to prevent more serious crimes and reduce its increasing occurrences, which has a financial implication for the authority, businesses and residents.”

You can report graffiti online or call 01242 262626.

For media enquiries, contact: communications, telephone 01242 264 231, email [email protected].


There are a wide variety of forms and styles of graffiti, of which the authority recognises six basic categories:

1. Juvenile – generally takes the form of “x loves y” type messages or lists of first names. They are usually written with felt-tip or marker pens.

2. Tags – stylised personal graphic identifiers depicting names or nicknames, which are often large and in bold colours. Tags can be pictorial, drawn free hand or using stencils, and are usually painted with spray cans or drawn with marker pens.

3. Scratches – marks caused by the deliberate use of a sharp instrument to cut into painted surfaces, wood, plastic, brick etc. However, if these scratches form words, then they should be classified as ‘juvenile’ or ‘tags’ as appropriate.

4. Ghost – graffiti which has been partially removed or has faded to such an extent that it is has lost its initial visual impact.

5. Contentious – any graffiti which could be offensive to particular members of the general public. This would include any obscene, racist, political or religious graffiti.

6. Stencil – any graffiti which has been sprayed through a stencil, unless it is deemed that it forms a ‘tag’.