Security fence around Banksy work

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Published: Friday 6th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Security fencing has been erected around a famous Banksy mural – ahead of a decision on granting the artwork listed status.

The Spy Booth artwork depicts three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box.

It appeared overnight on a street in Cheltenham town centre in April last year – just a few miles from where the UK’s surveillance network GCHQ is based.

Workers from Cheltenham Borough Council have erected the fencing after scaffolding and protective plywood was removed this week from around the Banksy, which is painted on a Grade II listed house in Fairview Road.

A council spokeswoman said: “Heras fencing has been installed by council officers this afternoon around part of the flank wall of 159 Fairview Road.

“It has been put up to protect passers-by from the potential danger of falling render. Previously the scaffolding, which was removed a few days ago was providing this protection.

“Notices have been put up on the fencing to inform residents and to ask people to stay out of this area; and the owner of the building and the highways authority have been notified.”

The painting has been source of much controversy over the last year, with people trying to steal the mural, vandals painting over it and business and communities fighting over ownership.

The application for listed status will be considered by the council’s planning committee on February 19.

If approved, it could mean that the painting could be made untouchable, including the phone box and satellite dish that give the mural context.

Andrew North, chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Council, 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.”

Banksy officially confirmed the piece was his work on a link titled Q&A on his website.

Published: Friday 6th February 2015 by The News Editor

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