Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt hopes a new policy preserving graffiti considered to have artistic or cultural merit will give the port city a "diverse artistic edge" after research revealed broad community support for the plan.

The city's strategic and general services committee is expected to approve the policy change at its meeting on Wednesday. It will go before the council next week.

Celebrated WA artist Stormie Mills, who completed a commissioned artwork at a bus shelter near the Fremantle Arts Centre, welcomed the policy change.

"I think it's a great idea. It's nice to see it being embraced - there are young people who have been charged and arrested just for making artworks, which is just ridiculous," he said yesterday.

"It makes a bright and vibrant place, things can evolve and change and we're not just looking at the same old boring walls. It creates a dynamic."

Dr Pettitt said community consultation revealed 85 per cent of those surveyed supported the policy change.

A committee report said that those who did not support the change were concerned about increased graffiti and antisocial behaviour.

"This enables us to target our resources on the pieces of graffiti that need removing first and that's those mindless tags," Dr Pettitt said.

Under the new policy, council workers will make an initial judgment on new graffiti and remove any deemed unworthy. The city's public art officer and director of community services will decide which works are worth keeping.

The West Australian

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