Save our street art campaigners hit out

Aida Stephens (front row) pictured with supporters of the wall art.'''Picture by Louise Adams C131165-1 Chi Street Art
Aida Stephens (front row) pictured with supporters of the wall art.'''Picture by Louise Adams C131165-1 Chi Street Art

ART lovers have launched a campaign in support of street art which officials have threatened to remove.

They are having their pictures taken with the mural in Guildhall Street Chichester, and posting them online to show its local popularity.

The campaign to save the art was launched after Aida and John Stephens who own the Whipped & Baked coffee shop and bakery in Guildhall Street, were told they might have to remove art painted on the side of their building following a complaint.

They described the attitude of the council as ‘astounding’.

“The painting is on an unoriginal wall of our building which is not overlooked by any residential properties,” said Mr Stephens.

“It was our intention to inject a sense of fun and to reduce what is, in its original state, a very unattractive wall which is not part of or in keeping with the original building.

“The painting is done in water soluble acrylic paint which will wash off in time. It was never to be permanent, but a bit of whimsy.

“We do not believe we require listed building consent as it is a temporary installation.

“Was listed building consent obtained for the street art project, as we were informed that they didn’t need to as the installations were temporary?”

During the street art festival, the council said it was up to the owner of the building to decide whether or not to have the temporary art.

But a Chichester District Council spokeswoman said that, following a complaint, officers had investigated and found the Whipped & Baked art was not part of the ‘agreed street art installations’ for the street art festival in Chichester.

“The building is grade-II listed which means the artwork requires 
listed building consent,” she said.

“We are now seeking the removal of the artwork as the owner did not apply for consent and the quality of the artwork is quite poor.”

Mr and Mrs Stephens said they had not been informed of the council’s intentions to remove the art, and called the move ‘discourteous’.

“Until now, we have yet to be officially approached with any information other than that the council was going to consider their stand on the matter,” said Mr Stephens.

Now an online campaign has been launched supporting the couple.

Those who couldn’t make it for a photograph when the Observer visited Guildhall Street posted pictures of themselves with the artwork on the social networking site Twitter earlier this week.

“We do question since when does CDC have great expertise in artistic merit?” said Mr Stephens.

“The sheer arrogance in thinking their subjective view of what is good or poor art makes for valid decision making is astounding.

“And just how can they justify spending tax payers money in sending out an officer to us based on just one complaint?”

Let us know what you think by commenting below.