The Independent London Newspaper
21st August 2014

Letters

Council whitewash Banksy's Jeffrey's Street artwork due to ‘vandalism’

Now you see it – the Banksy on Jeffrey’s Street

Now you see it – the Banksy on Jeffrey’s Street

Now you don’t – after the whitewash job

Now you don’t – after the whitewash job

Published: 5 July, 2012
by PAVAN AMARA

WASN’T there a Banksy around here somewhere?

A sketch left by the guerilla artist on a wall in Jeffrey’s Street, Camden Town, which first ap­peared in August last year, is now just a blank wall.

Camden Council whitewashed the bricks after claiming that the artwork of a boy blowing bubbles had been vandalised to an extent that it had become unrecognisable.

Bhupen Raja, who owns the wall, spent £3,000 covering the image with protective perspex and installed a 24-hour CCTV camera to look after it.

But last month he received a letter from the Town Hall ordering the screen’s removal due to a “breach of planning control”.

The council outlined that the screen should be removed by June 12 unless an appeal was made to the Secretary of State.

Mr Raja had argued that if the screen was removed, the art would be whitewashed.

“Eventually I thought it was too much hassle to argue against it, it would have cost me too much to appeal the decision,” said Mr Raja.

“The council use taxpayers’ money for sending out all their letters and taking people to court, but for me, I use my own money, and in total I found out it might cost me nearly £1,000.

“I thought, they’re just going to get good lawyers and then it will all be worth nothing, and they’ll win anyway.

"So on Thursday I got someone to take it down.

"They didn’t even tell me when they came to paint my wall.”

When the Banksy first appeared Mr Raja had to research the world-famous artist on the internet to discover who he was.

He said: “The council will regret this.

"Now people know that is where the Banksy was, that spot is forever going to be where people graffiti.”

Labour cabinet member Councillor Phil Jones said: “I think most people would agree that there’s a difference between random tagging and the more artistic work of Banksy, so it’s a shame it came to this.

“Unfortunately, however, the Banksy on Jeffrey’s Street had been attacked by vandals, leaving the original artwork unrecognisable and the area looking unsightly.”

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