GCHQ Banksy removal stopped
A temporary stop notice has been issued to halt work on a Cheltenham house, where a Banksy artwork appeared.
Locals have been trying to save the "Spy Booth" mural after it was claimed it had been sold and would be removed.
On Tuesday, it looked "increasingly likely" the work would be removed after efforts by local businesses to save it stalled.
But Cheltenham Borough Council has served a notice to stop work on the house on Fairview Road for 28 days.
The artwork, depicting men "snooping" on a telephone box, appeared in April.
Banksy later admitted painting the work on a house three miles from the government communications headquarters, GCHQ.
Last week, businesswoman Angela DeSouza failed in an attempt to raise £1m within a self-imposed six-hour deadline to make an offer.
She was also unable to raise an initial £100,000 needed to prevent the sale by the end of Monday, which was the actual deadline.
On Tuesday, Robin Barton from the Bankrobber gallery in London, said "pressure is growing on the owners" to accept a seven-figure deal from an American.
Now the borough council has stepped in to stop work on the Grade II listed building to allow "discussions to take place about the next steps".
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."