Graffiti along the rail track between Kew and Richmond
Community public meeting on transport
Zac Goldsmith MP has organised a community public meeting for all to put their questions on transport to South West Rail, Network Rail and Transport for London on Wednesday 12th September at 19.00 at the Duke Street Church, Duke Street, Richmond TW9 1DH. It is a good opportunity to put your questions, including on what Network Rail are doing to clean up graffiti and improve security to prevent access to the tracks. You can see below what we have been trying to do for some time now – see particularly the entry dated 2nd September 2017.
We understand that budgets are tight and action needs to be prioritised but a commitment to a timetable for this work would be welcome. Network Rail understandably prioritise cleaning up offensive graffiti but the graffiti in Kew, very visible from the trains and from North Road, has been in place for a long time with no sign of action to remove it. The evening is a chance to voice concerns directly on this issue as well as others on rail transport.
We are continuing to try to get the graffiti on the North Avenue houses and the railway bridge over Mortlake Road removed in discussion with Richmond Council, Network Rail and our local MP. More graffiti has now appeared on the North Avenue houses.
It has not taken long for the graffiti to reappear on the side of the houses in North Avenue. We are raising this again with our MP, including the need for Nework Rail to improve security which is clearly a problem here.
Network Rail have finally painted over the graffiti on the rail track side of the houses on North Avenue, visible from North Road. We understand that work is also being undertaken to remove the graffiti along the rail track in Richmond. We are continuing to ask for action to remove the new graffiti on the railway bridge over the Mortlake Road and to press for action, promised last January, to improve security to deter trespass and new graffiti appearing. We are also looking into removal of the graffiti on the footbridge at Kew Gardens station.
Our grateful thanks go to Zac Goldsmith’s office for helping to press Network Rail to take action.
We are continuing, with the help of Zac Goldsmith MP to press for action by Network Rail to remove the graffiti along the rail track, and now also on the railway bridge over the Mortlake Road, and to improve security. It is disappointing that Network Rail are failing to respond to our requests for an update on action promised several months ago.
Zac Goldsmith MP has confirmed that he is raising the issue of graffiti for us with Network Rail and is asking for urgent action.
Having said, on the 19th July, that they would look into the new graffiti, Network Rail have not responded to any of our reminders asking for an update on progress. We have now written to Zac Goldsmith MP to ask him to intervene on our behalf. In addition to dealing with the graffiti we have asked for confirmation from Network Rail that the “witches hats” – a physical deterrent placed at the end of the platforms – which were promised last January will be installed. This is needed not only to improve security to deter graffiti artists but also because we are aware that there have been several recent incidents of passengers crossing the tracks rather than using the tunnel or bridge. Clearly this is a safety issue needing urgent attention. It is particularly disappointing that Network Rail have not responded to us since following a useful site meeting last year, they were very encouraging about wanting to engage with us.
New graffiti has appeared on the rail track side of the buildings in North Avenue, visible from North Road. We have asked Network Rail to remove it and to review again security measures to prevent trespass.
We are pleased to see that the graffiti on the railway bridge over the Mortlake Road has been removed.
The graffiti on the buildings in North Avenue on the rail track side, visible from North Road, has been removed as well as some of the graffiti into Richmond. We are asking Network Rail to improve the quality of the work which has left a patchwork quilt of different colours to mask the graffiti. Action to improve security to deter further graffiti is also in hand.
Richmond Council have agreed to contact Network Rail to arrange for the removal of the graffiti on the buildings in North Avenue, visible from North Road.
We have now had a site visit from Network Rail and discussed with them the action that can be taken to clear the remaining graffiti, improve security and do some planting to act as a deterrent against renewed graffiti. Network Rail have said that as the graffiti opposite North End Road, is on residential property walls, is not their responsibility but they have offered to do the work if the residents ask for this. We are looking at contacting the residents so that they can approach Richmond Council to pay for removal or asking the Council to make a direct approach to Network Rail to use their contractors to complete the work as only they have access to the track. Network Rail also looked at where they might improve security and promised to come back to us with a new timetable for clearing the graffiti they are responsible for, as well as looking at planting ideas as an additional deterrent.
A site visit we had arranged with Network Rail, the British Transport Police, Richmond Council and Zac Goldsmith MP to show Network Rail where the graffiti had not been cleared and to encourage more deterrence through planting in front of blank canvases such as that offered where the Lager graffiti had been was cancelled by Network Rail at the last minute. We are hoping for a new meeting in the next few weeks.and action taken to clean up the graffiti.
The LAGER graffiti which appeared recently near Kew Gardens station has now been removed as well as the graffiti on the columns supporting the bridge for High Park Road.But the much longer standing graffiti on the buildings facing North Road and in several areas along the track into Richmond are still there.
We are continuing to press for these areas to be dealt with as well as our suggestion that planting might prevent renewed graffiti in some locations.
The graffiti along the rail track has still not been removed. We have contacted Zac Goldsmith MP to ask him to take this up with the chair of Network Rail which he has confirmed he will do.
Some of you will have seen the coverage in this week’s Richmond and Twickenham Times on graffiti in Kew. I wanted to clarify some points on the action taken and in hand on this issue.
We are grateful for the prompt action Zac Goldsmith MP took when we first raised this issue with him. He secured an undertaking from Network Rail to have the graffiti removed.. Since then we have been chasing Network Rail for action, as you can see from the updates below, and have not raised the issue with our MP again whilst we had this continuing dialogue with Network Rail. It has taken longer than we hoped, but Network Rail have given us an undertaking that the work will be done by 4 September. If the work is not completed by then, we will again be in touch with our MP to see if new pressure can be exerted.
New graffiti has appeared in the last week or so which has been embellished further since the photo in the newspaper was taken. Clearly there is still a security problem here. We have drawn Network Rail’s attention to this and also suggested planting could perhaps help resolve future graffiti in locations like this.
Kew is far from alone in the issue of graffiti. But the current action in Richmond and Kew is relatively new and needs tackling, as has been promised.
Network Rail have told us that they expect to complete clear up of the graffiti by 4 September. We have also sent them a photo taken by a resident of the new graffiti just beyond the end of the Kew Gardens station eastbound platform and asked whether they have a policy on planting in areas like this to deter new graffiti.
Network Rail have told us that a maintenance team will be on site to clear the graffiti in the next two weeks. They have also installed some new close board fencing to deter trespass onto the track.
Network Rail have written following up on Sir Peter Hendy’s response to say that local teams regularly remove graffiti from the area though this is often quickly vandalised again. They have given an undertaking that their maintenance team will revisit the site as soon as possible to remove the latest graffiti.
We have written again to say that we have seen no evidence of removal of the graffiti apart from some particularly offensive examples in Richmond. As residents will know, the graffiti is extensive and has been there for some time. Network Rail have promised to get back to us as soon as possible on the action they will take.
Network Rail are also in discussion with Richmond Council on installing permanent cameras to help catch perpetrators and have said they want to continue to work with the Kew Society and with the British Transport Police to raise awareness about reporting vandalism and in trying to catch those responsible.
We have also alerted the Richmond Society, as the graffiti extends all the way into Richmond, and the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society. We are also asking the Council about cleaning up the graffiti on the buildings on the “land side” of the Network Rail security fencing.
You can help by reporting graffiti yourself to the police and the Council. See the Council’s policy here:
We wrote to our MP, Zac Goldsmith, to ask him to raise with Network Rail the need to clean up the extensive graffiti along the rail track between Kew and Richmond. He has written to Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, and received an undertaking that the graffiti will be removed. Previously Network Rail had said they did not have a budget to do this. Their website shows they have a sizeable budget nationally and that the criteria they use to prioritise areas for clean up includes areas visible by rail passengers and the general public, clearly the case here.You can see their policies and advice here: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/1022.aspx
The local police Safer Neighbourhood Team are working with the British Transport Police and residents to improve security to prevent trespass on the track.
We have also included in our comments on proposals for re-development at 1-9 Sandycombe Road and at 275 Sandycombe Road, which back on to the rail track, the need for the developer to consider how to design-in graffiti deterrence, working with Network Rail.
We will update you on progress with the clean up.