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Council reviews graffiti policy after destroying mural

May 29, 2009

Bristol City Council has launched a review of its policy on street art, after contractors mistakenly painted over a legal mural on Stokes Croft.

The painting of an angel by artists Cheo and 3Dom was valued at over £5,000 until workmen painted over it with black paint two weeks ago.The owner of the building it was on had given them permission to paint it.

Community groups reacted angrily and the council has since issued an apology, saying “The mural was removed following a complaint to the council from a member of the public.

“However, as this mural was on a privately owned building, the council should have made contact with the owner first to seek permission before removing it and this was unfortunately not done.”

Now, officers have begun the first stages of a policy review, looking into the way they deal with street art and graffiti.

Community activist Chris Chalkley welcomed the review, saying: “I think it’s high time they did look again at their policy. I’m sure it was a failure to communicate on this one.

“We did tell the council arts department that it was a legal site, and yet somehow the piece got painted over. It isn’tthe first time there’s been massive failure in communication.”

He also called for the council to consult local groups in different parts of Bristol as no one policy would work for the whole city.

He said: “For the last few years we’ve had a vaguely laissez-faire attitude in Stokes Croft from the council which has allowed a flowering of local artists beautifying an area which has been shockingly run-down.”

“It’s going to be difficult to have laws that will enshrine that. That entails a change of attitude on an area-by-area basis.

“I’m not suggesting this would apply to Clifton or Stoke Bishop because people there may want something different.”

A council spokesman told Original they could not comment because the policy review was at a very early stage.

Pictured: The blacked-out mural at the corner of Stokes Croft and Hillgrove St.

Blacked out mural on Stokes Croft

Blacked out mural on Stokes Croft

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