An ongoing situation has positioned a landlord against a local council in Cheltenham, over a disputed Banksy mural. The painting located at Fairview Road and Hewlett Road disappeared from view on 25 June, shortly after Banksy authenticated the work of art on his website.
Hoarding was placed around the art which was scheduled to be removed and sold. It has now been confirmed that the hoarding surrounding the work of art has started to come down, revealing the piece known as ‘Spy booth’.
Cheltenham Borough Council issued a stop notice to halt the removal of the mural which had been allegedly sold to art dealers in London, who vowed to put it on exhibit for a month, before shipping it to America. An outcry from the community ensued with local residents trying to raise around £650,000 to keep the Banksy in Cheltenham. The controversy that followed, put the owners of the building and local councillors in talks to save the work.
Councillor Colin Hay, of Cheltenham Borough Council, stated in June that the building’s owners had been warned that listed building consent was required if work was being done to the fabric of the building on the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road. He said: “If they breach that they’re in trouble. It’s quite a serious offence. If they’re making a hole then they’re removing the fabric of the building. “If you’re taking a large part of the wall out that would be a serious breach of listed building consent. It’s a criminal offence. “They can be given a stop notice if they’re carrying out some work, and then they really do have to stop.”
Mark Nelson, the council’s built environment enforcement manager, said: “The temporary stop notice has been served because the council considers that works have taken place, without obtaining consent. “It is worth clarifying that whilst the council is supportive of the public’s desire to keep the artwork on this property, the temporary stop notice has been issued to protect the integrity of this listed building.”
It has not been confirmed whether the artwork will remain in Cheltenham.