BT threatened with court action over graffiti magnet pavement hubs

Posted On 28 Nov 2022 at 4:25 pm

A tagged BT Street Hub in London Road. Picture by Derek Wright


The company behind pavement ad hubs which have become a magnet for tagging have been warned they need to clean graffiti off or face prosecution.

BT has been putting its Street Hub ad units up around the city in spots where telephone boxes used to stand.

The telecoms company promised Brighton and Hove City Council it would clean off the tagging every fortnight – but this hasn’t happened.

Now, the council has issued it four notices requiring the tagging to be removed – and if it isn’t, BT could be fined or taken to court.

The council’s waste management department, Cityclean, said the hubs were “quickly becoming unsightly additions to the city”.

It made the comments when objecting to planning applications for yet more hubs by outdoor advertising company JCDecaux – all of which were subsequently turned down.

Its objection said: “Cityclean have concerns about adding new structures and street furniture in the city due high levels of vandalism and anti-social behaviour, particularly seen with graffiti, tagging, stickering and fly posting.

“The new installation of the similar BT Street Hubs show that these structures are subject to these types of behaviour and despite BT promising fortnightly maintenance and cleaning, this hasn’t been seen. The hubs are quickly becoming unsightly additions to the city.

“The graffiti removal team within Cityclean has a huge task on its hands in maintaining property and street furniture that belongs to the council and do not have the capacity (within the team or budget) to be able to extend the scope of the types of property they can remove from.”

The BT hubs were given planning permission because they were taking up space previously occupied by phone boxes, and so were not making pavements more cluttered than they already were.

The phone boxes’ existing highways licences were transferred to the new hubs, which means BT is not paying the council any rent for using the pavement.

However, if any new hubs were given planning permission, then the council would expect to charge rent for the pavement to be used.

A council spokesperson said: “We are aware that a number of pieces of BT equipment have been targeted and tagged around the city.

“We have so far issued four community protection warnings and notices to BT in line with our agreed policies.

“Our aim is simply to ensure that BT clears the tags from their equipment.

“But failure on their part to remove the tags could result in us having to take further enforcement action.”

BT were approached for comment.

  1. Charles U Farley Reply

    Once again the council punishes the victims of crime instead of the criminals. Lazy does not begin to describe them. Absolute shower!

    • mart Burt Reply

      Yes but catching the criminals and dealing with them is going to cost the council thousands in lost revenue from ‘FINES’ given out to the victims.
      And that just won’t do.
      I think our excellent council are doing a fantastic job prosecuting the victims and I’m sure they can think of some ‘new’ ‘fines’ they can introduce.

  2. Bear Road resident Reply

    Re my recent comment on tags on the bike hangers – I note that many street lights, bus shelters and other street furniture that are the responsibility of the local council remain tagged in some cases for years. Is this yet again an indication of the total hypocrisy of Brighton council or as it given itself a ‘get out jail free card’ when it comes to its own responsibility in dealing with these awful tags?
    Never normal Brighton.

  3. Jay S Reply

    So is the person who signed off the bike sheds, getting taken to court. Not seen one without graffiti

  4. Some Guy Reply

    Bike sheds are an excellent idea and those of you complaining about them are just anti-cycling. If BT entered into a contract that they would clean off any graffiti, and they haven’t done that, then BT is in breach of contract. They must be made to perform their side of the bargain. They have the privilege of owning the rights to legacy street furniture. It brings them a significant income and the least they can do it to keep it clean. Of course, it would be better if they were not graffitied in the first place!

    • Hendrik Reply

      So, it’s allright for graffiti to be put on the bike sheds, but not anywhere else. And anyone who complains about it is anti-cycling.

    • Charles U Farley Reply

      “Bike sheds are an excellent idea and those of you complaining about them are just anti-cycling.”

      I don’t recall people complaining about bike the bike sheds only where they are placed – in parkiing spaces that people pay for – and that they are covered in graffiti that the council then treats differently to other graffiti. One rule for them, another for everyone else.

      But hey… we’re just anti-cycling.

    • Helen Reply

      Why is it that anybody who has a genuine comment to make about anything to do with cycling is ANTI CYLIST ?

      As for contracts, BHCC has a duty of care to provide basic services, like rubbish and recycling collections and also removing graffiti from its own property, seen plenty of these sheds vandalised already and not dealt with, is it one rule for one and something different for everyone else ?

  5. Peter Reply

    And what are the council doing about graffiti and filthy streets Nothing All they do is pass the buck

  6. Jason Reply

    Not trying to give these despicable graffiti morons any ideas, but I’m sure the advertising sites would soon be cleaned if the spray-painted gibberish obscured the adverts.

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