23 January 2018

Council investigating graffiti damage to Grade 2 listed building

A huge graffiti mural which has been sprayed on the side of a charity's Grade 2 listed building in Brighton has sparked a council investigation.

The image appears on the end wall of the Percy and Wagner almshouses in Lewes Road, dating back to 1795. It is thought to have been painted on or about 8 January. The mural is signed with an Instagram handle 

No permission was given by the property owner -  a charitable trust -  or the council, as the body in charge of authorising changes to listed buildings.   

Planning enforcement officers say under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act, altering or extending a listed building without council permission is a criminal offence. The planning authority has spoken to the Chair of Trustees, who is responsible for the almshouses, requesting the wall be repainted within 14 days.  The council says the Trust are equally dismayed at the image and have told officials the wall will be reinstated within this timeframe.

The Trust will have the option to consider civil action against the perpetrator, for costs and damage to the property.

Chair of the council’s planning committee Cllr Julie Cattell said:  “This appears to be a case of damage to property on a grand scale which we would expect the police to look into with the support of the Trust.  It would be good if the person who painted it repaid the charity for the costs this will incur them.  It’s a heartless thing to do to that lovely old terrace . We have established whoever did it had no permission from anyone despite claims to passers-by that they did.”

Removing graffiti from private buildings is the responsibility of owners. However the council can intervene to remove racist or obscene graffiti from any surface.

Damage to the charity's listed almshouses
at the junction of Elm Grove and Lewes Road