Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Banksy artwork removed by local council over litter fears

Banksy makes an unpublicised trip to Ukraine

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A piece of art by the enigmatic street artist Banksy has been tampered with by a council in Suffolk, sparking anger among locals. The mural on the side of a privately owned block of flats depicts a seagull swooping downwards.

There has always been a skip next to the painting with chunks of polystyrene hanging out of the top.

Locals say the skip gave the painting its allure because it created an image of a seagull stealing chips, but the council in Lowestoft has taken the skip away amid concerns over people dumping rubbish in it.

It was taken away in December, leaving many in the local area furious.

The landlord for the block of flats also confirmed that the skip had been taken at the council’s request.

Wishing to remain unnamed, they said: “East Suffolk Council complained about the mess and wanted to remove the barriers, the skip, and the protective screening.

“We have it in storage. We have secured the protective screening and cleaned up the area.”

Local art dealer, John Brandler, criticised the decision to tamper with the artwork which he estimated is worth anywhere between £250,000 to £2million.

He said: “It’s a very beautiful, important, and world-famous piece by Banksy.

“It’s a sad loss that someone has taken all its meaning away.

“You need the skip. It’s like having an ice cream without the cone.”

However, Mr Brandler now believes the art is worth “bugger all” now the skip has been taken away.

He continued: “It is incomplete without the skip. Would you buy half a car?

“It has value as a big painting but the value of it to buy is negligible compared to the value it would have had as a tourist attraction to the town.”

A former tenant at the property, John Beasley, was living in the block of flats when the mural first appeared back in 2021.

He liked the artwork but did add that the skip attracted littering and fly-tippers.

He said: “I was stunned. I heard the scaffolding being put up and taken down, and the skip being put in place.

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“It made my block look so much nicer and the skip was a very clever touch.

“The skip has now more than likely gone because the local people used it like a bin rather than admire the art.

“By the time my family and I moved in 2022, it was less of an art piece and more of a dump.”

Meanwhile, Mr Brandler has suggested alternative solutions to the council, but says he was ignored.

He said: “I advised the council to create a Street Art Trail and generate revenue for the town but they weren’t interested.

“Since then, another Banksy piece has been removed and displayed elsewhere and others have been virtually destroyed by the non-interest of the council.

“It is no surprise that the council has done nothing to secure the skip.”

Banksy has a number of paintings across Suffolk. Others include three children on a boat over a drain and a child digging a hole in the sand with a crowbar.

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