Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Banksy recommended for listed building consent

Banksy's Spy Booth artwork in Cheltenham Image copyright PA
Image caption The council will consider the "Spy Booth" mural listing at a planning meeting next week

A Banksy mural painted on a Cheltenham house has been recommended for listed building consent by planning officers.

The "Spy Booth" artwork, showing three figures "snooping" on a telephone box, appeared in Hewlett Road last April.

Local businessman Hekmat Kaveh has applied for the work, satellite dish and phone booth, to be included in the property's Grade II* listed status.

It would mean any unauthorised work affecting the listed mural would be a criminal offence.

The house itself is already Grade II listed and is located about three miles from government listening post GCHQ.

'Unusual situation'

The mural has been a source of controversy ever since it appeared - with people trying to steal it, vandals painting over it and business and communities fighting over ownership.

Mr Kaveh, who does not own the building, has been financially supporting a campaign group which wants to keep the artwork in place.

Cheltenham Borough Council chief executive Andrew North said: "Council officers have been working with the owner of the building and a local resident who has made a listed building consent application to regularise the unusual situation with the Banksy and associated satellite dish.

"We intend to continue working with both parties to seek the best resolution possible for Cheltenham, but it must be appreciated that the council has to act within the legal powers available to it."

Planning officer Martin Chandler has written in his recommendation that the application be approved for a "limited period of six months" to allow further assessment of the state of the wall and necessary repair work.

His report will be considered by the council's planning committee on 19 February.

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