Colourful Crouch End bollards to get a repaint due to 'safety' concerns

Painted bollards, outside the former Flashback Records shop on Crouch Hill

Painted bollards outside the former Flashback Records shop on Crouch Hill. Flashback has since moved to a bigger shop in Topsfield Parade - Credit: Polly Hancock

The eye-catching artworks on a series of Crouch End bollards are going to be repainted black after complaints about their unusual designs. 

Lining part of the pavement along Crouch Hill, the colourful makeover of the bollards is just one of multiple examples of street art created in the area

Graffiti, a 3D sculpture on a wall, and yellow chicken feet painted onto the pavements outside local schools are just some of the works that have sprung up in the area. 

Not everyone has been won over though, with questions arising as to whether they should be perceived as art or vandalism.  

There have been concerns about how easily the bollards can be seen, including a complaint the council received from someone who is visually impaired. 

Marc Afford, a Crouch End resident and chair of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum, said: “Obviously, there is concern around how this affects people with visual impairment, which needs to be taken seriously.  

“From the point of view of the public realm, I think people are concerned that the painting will spread and further graffiti will result.” 

Martin George, a Crouch End-based singer and actor, said that while he was not too bothered about the fate of the bollards, he does not think it is “really in the spirit of modern Crouch End to be moaning and complaining about a few brightly coloured bollards.” 

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On the decision behind the repainting, Cllr Seema Chandwani, cabinet member for customer service, welfare and the public realm, said: “The unauthorised art work on our bollards has split opinions of local residents. I appreciate that the artist had good intentions but the council has received complaints and we had to make a decision. 

“Ultimately, the bollards are road safety measures, and must be appropriately coloured, to our specification. Defacing bollards is actually illegal under the Highways Act and, in dealing with the complaint, we followed the legal guidance. 

“Street artists play an important role in making our public spaces enjoyable, however there are processes and limitations to what can and cannot be done.  

“I urge artists to work with their ward councillors who will help engage the relevant council departments to get ideas through in the right way that also reduces risk of complaints and breaches of the law.”