More graffiti will be removed in the town while Banksy-like street art will be protected under new policy changes at Reading Borough Council (RBC).

Plans to tackle more graffiti have been approved by RBC’s Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure committee, while the committee also agreed to create a new Street Art Advisory Panel to ensure street art is celebrated and not removed or vandalised.

Councillor Adele Barnett-Ward, lead member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said the issue of private properties being overrun by graffiti had been pointed out by her colleague councillor Liam Challenger.

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She said: “Tenanted buildings were becoming hotspots. There was not enough money to tackle it.

“This is going to make a real impact on how our town looks, having a cleaner, safer, greener Reading with fewer scribbles in it.”

But the council also wants to do more to protect valued street art, spurred on by Banksy’s mural which appeared on the Reading Gaol walls earlier this year and was vandalised a few weeks later.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for culture, heritage and recreation, said the Banksy piece “really affected the way we looked and thought about street art in this town”.

She said: “On the one hand we have graffiti that can be detrimental to a building, and the community.

“Then we have got street art which can actually uplift an area and community.

“Since Mr Banksy came to this town, Reading has thought a lot about street art and graffiti.

“Art needs to live and thrive and cannot be nor should be choked. It is with this spirt that we are establishing a Street Art Advisory Panel to look at the positives street art has had on Reading and look at the finer details.

“It is really exciting the potential we have for street art in the town. I hope the advisory panel will help to make sure the continued explosion of street art is everything we want it to be.”

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Councillor Clarence Mitchell asked if the panel would be able to make rapid decisions to protect art, which a council officer confirmed would be the case.

The Reading Gaol Banksy piece was vandalised two weeks after it appeared on the prison walls, with the words ‘Team Robbo’ sprayed over the typewriter, an allusion to an old rivalry with another street artist.