ANYONE now visiting Bournemouth will not fail to be struck by the continuing degradation of the general appearance of considerable areas of the central areas.

Open spaces, especially along the principal thoroughfares such as Wessex Way have barely been trimmed and now appear like unkempt green jungles sprouting hedgerow weeds such as cow parsley.

While, no doubt as a response to the social pressures created by the coronavirus lockdown, in an increasing number of pedestrian ways considerably more graffiti has appeared and has just been left.

This unsatisfactory appearance of parts of the town appears to have been brought about by a combination of exceptional plant growth during the wet spring and the decision of the BCP Council not to mow and trim green central areas as frequently as in previous years as a result of a new policy of greater tolerance of natural plant growth in respect to the existing emergencies of climate change.

Also that the existing administrative procedures for the removal of graffiti – especially from private locations which can entail administrative delays, have to be made more efficient.

But quite frankly seeing Bournemouth in its present neglected state, the existing situation simply cannot be tolerated a moment longer.

How can our town, now considered to be the finest English seaside resort, present a well kept and welcoming face to visitors if their first sight of the townscape is one of overgrown landscapes and visual degradation – where it can appear that the council is too poor or neglectful to afford proper clearing and cleaning procedures?

While accepting that efforts to reduce the impact of climate change is an honourable consideration, and that legal steps needed to facilitate the speedy elimination of all graffiti cannot be rushed, the absolute need to enhance the holiday potential of our town should always take priority.

I am sure that our well-meaning councillors fully appreciate the importance of this situation and therefore in my role as the built environment consultant to Bournemouth Civic Society, I most earnestly ask those especially tasked with the implementation of landscape trimming and graffiti removal to adopt effective pragmatic policies as soon as possible.

Namely, a) that with respect to visual vandalism, it will soon be possible for the municipal cleansing teams to remove immediately, without any bureaucratic restrictions, the offending daubs from any location in Bournemouth, public or private, and b) that a long term horticultural balance is evolved that enables central green areas to be kept to a standard compatible with the highest levels of municipal open green spaces and that adequate provision is made for the flourishing of wild vegetation in appropriate open spaces such as the Central Pleasure Gardens.

May some positive results soon become apparent.

John Soane Built environment consultant, Bournemouth Civic Society