A historic alley which was “plagued” by graffiti and anti-social behaviour has been rejuvenated.

Bottle Alley in Hastings has been cleared of graffiti and restored to its former glory thanks to a joint effort and funding from Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, Hastings Borough Council and the local Community Safety Partnership.

The walkway is a listed feature in the town and gets its name from thousands of pieces of multi-coloured glass bottles that have been used to decorate the wall.

It runs for 480 metres and was built in the 1930s as an undercover walkway to protect against bad weather.

The alley provides a colourful link between Hastings and St Leonards but it had become a “hot spot” for graffiti taggers and those committing anti-social behaviour. In the last year alone, Hastings Council has received over 1,300 incidents of graffiti reported in the area.

The Argus: Bottle Alley in Hastings has been cleaned upThe council and the Safer Hastings Community Safety Partnership arranged for a local art collective, ZEROH, to repaint and clean the alley.

ZEROH also work closely with volunteer sponsors who are helping to ensure any further graffiti tags are swiftly removed.


A Hastings Borough Council spokesman said: “Bottle Alley has been plagued with graffiti tags and mindless scrawls for many years. The recent improvements are a result of considerable joint work between the Borough Council the Foreshore Trust, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and many local people working with a local artist to restore some of the character of this historic feature.

“Graffiti has been removed and will continue to be removed from the alley as quickly as possible. Taggers need to be aware that police are keeping their eyes open for anyone graffitiing the Alley, or anywhere else in Hastings.”

The Argus: The alley has been cleaned upThe alley has been cleaned up (Image: Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner)

Councillor Judy Rogers, who represents Castle Ward in the town and is chairwoman of the Hastings and Rother Community Safety Partnership, said people are enjoying the difference already.

“What ZEROH and the local team have done is amazing,” she said.

“You can see just how many people are coming through the alley now that it’s been refreshed.

“We could do with much more art around the town because the one thing we found was that better presented and better maintained spaces, seem to attract much less graffiti and tagging. We’ve got businesses opening along here and its space we have to make the most of.”

The Argus: The alley became a graffiti hot spotThe alley became a graffiti hot spot (Image: Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner)

PCC Bourne was successful in securing £1.5 million for Sussex from the Government’s Safer Streets 4 Fund that awarded £50 million to communities across England and Wales.

New and lighting has also been funded in Hastings.

“Graffiti and vandalism adversely affect our communities - they can make public spaces feel unsafe and make it appear that anti-social behaviour is tolerated,” she said.

“It was great to visit Bottle Alley after the clean-up had taken place and speak with partners who are working closely with Sussex Police. Everyone who joined me on the visit said they are already noticing a positive difference, with more residents, particularly families, using the walkway.”