Civic Society one of the driving forces for Heritage Watch
Having seen graffiti and tagging despoil Cheltenham’s Minster and Gardens over the last year or two, Cheltenham Civic Society has campaigned hard for greater oversight of one of the town’s most precious heritage assets. Working with Cheltenham Borough Council, Gloucestershire Police, the Minster and Historic England has culminated in the launch of Heritage Watch – a scheme designed to protect the county’s historical sites, monuments, buildings, and artefacts from heritage crime.
This will be done by improving communication between people who live near or work near historical sites, those who take a keen interest in the county’s heritage. The scheme – launched on 10th May and called ‘Operation Minster’ – enables the public to report and share information on crime, suspicious behaviour, and damage they observe at heritage sites across the county.
Each piece of graffiti or tagging damage to the Minster can cost up to £1,000 to remove. Andrew Booton, Chair of the Civic Society, said: “The town centre is currently suffering from a plague of graffiti, which in settings such as the Minster’s is not just vandalism but is a heritage crime. We are very pleased that this problem in now being treated as a priority. Oversight and the far greater likelihood of being caught and prosecuted is the deterrent we need.”