The people responsible for removing a Banksy mural from a wall in Cheltenham may be acting illegaly under Section 9 of the 1990 Planning Act by damaging fabric of Grade 2 Listed building.
Cheltenham’s deadline of 4pm today to raise £1m in a bid to keep Banksy’s “Spy Booth” in the town has now passed and the mural will now be sold (most likely) to the art dealers Stephan Keszler, the owner of the eponymous NY gallery, and Robin Barton, the owner of London’s Bankrobber Gallery, who plan to put the work on display in London from 4 July for a month.
The piece, which shows “spooks snooping” on a telephone box, first appeared on the listed house in Hewlett Road in April. Scaffolding which appeared yesterday confirmed that the work was to be removed but the council has warned that without planning permission, they may be committing an offence. The owner of the building has denied that the Banksy is to be removed and claimed that health and safety issues were to blame for the scaffolding.
Angela DeSouza, from the Women’s Business Club, said that after speaking to the owner she had been told he would be willing to consider an “attractive offer”. John Joyce, from Q, confirmed on Thursday that the property’s owner would remove the work”on Friday” and part of it “on Sunday or Monday”.
Ms DeSouza hoped to rally the town’s business community to raise £1m but this has now failed.
“It will be off the wall in hours, it will physically be removed that’s the urgency,” she said. “I tried to stall and buy more time for us but he’s just not budging.”
The mural depicting three 1950s-style agents in trenchcoats and trilby hats,wire tapping a telephone box became a worldwide sensation when it appeared in the town famous for horse racing and spying.