Banksy mural in Dover ‘can be saved by council’, MP claims

PUBLISHED: 09:27 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:27 31 August 2017

Banksy artwork in Dover. Photo: Ady Kerry

Banksy artwork in Dover. Photo: Ady Kerry

Ady Kerry

MP Charlie Elphicke recently met with Historic England to discuss the artwork

The Banksy mural in Dover can be saved by the district council, according to the town MP.

Charlie Elphicke has campaigned for the artwork, which depicts a workman on a ladder chipping away at one of the 12 stars on the European Union flag, to be maintained in the port town ever since it first appeared overnight back in May.

There have also been calls to seize the building upon which it is daubed and transform the site into an art gallery capable of rivalling Margate’s Turner Contemporary.

Labour councillor, Nathaniel Richards, launched a petition urging the town hall to use compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers in order to safeguard the future of the former Castle Amusements building, but property owners the Godden family, who also owned the building upon which Banksy daubed his previous Kent work - Art Buff in Folkestone - said the piece is likely to be removed and sold, and that they were looking at options with a London art gallery.

Conservative MP Mr Elphicke then applied to Historic England to have the work listed, and the public boddy’s planning director, Dr Andrew Brown has said the building does not meet their test of “special architectural or historic interest”, but confirmed the local authority does “have powers to safeguard the mural through normal development control measures”.

Mr Elphicke said: “This is great news. We now know the council can save the Banksy after all – whether that’s through retrospective permission, stop notices, new planning applications, or other control measures.

“I have passed this information to the council and urged them to do the right thing.

“People have travelled across the country to come and see it. It’s a massive draw for visitors to Dover and we need to make it the centrepiece of any new development.

“Dover is the Banksy’s rightful home. To demolish it would be a crime against culture.”

A council spokesperson said: “In June, Dover District Council’s cabinet agreed that it would welcome keeping the Banksy mural in Dover, although not necessarily on the same site, as long as it did not impede the area’s redevelopment.

“Paul Watkins, leader of the council has confirmed that this position remains the same.”

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