Wed. Apr 17th, 2024
alert-–-banksy-locked-up:-plastic-screens-and-wooden-fencing-put-over-islington-mural-on-the-side-of-a-block-of-flats-as-residents-claim-local-council-‘thinks-a-piece-of-art-is-more-valuable-than-human-life’Alert – Banksy locked up: Plastic screens and wooden fencing put over Islington mural on the side of a block of flats as residents claim local council ‘thinks a piece of art is more valuable than human life’

Plastic screens and wooden fencing have been put over Banksy’s latest mural on the side of a block of flats in Islington. 

Islington Council elected to introduce security for the new tree mural, which was painted on the side of a building in Christie Court in Finsbury Park, after vandals threw white paint over it earlier this month. 

But residents of the adjacent block of flats have slammed the decision, claiming the authority cares more about the artwork than human life.

They had allegedly asked for extra security on previous occasions due to safety concerns, which has reportedly been repeatedly denied due to a lack of funds.

Islington Council said the ‘new security measures’ had been put in place to prevent large crowds from gathering around the artwork after locals raised concerns about the ‘disruption’ it was causing to their lives.

Plastic screens and wooden fencing have been put over Banksy's latest mural on the side of a block of flats in Islington

Plastic screens and wooden fencing have been put over Banksy’s latest mural on the side of a block of flats in Islington

The new security measures have been put in place to prevent large crowds from gathering around the artwork, Islington Council said

The new security measures have been put in place to prevent large crowds from gathering around the artwork, Islington Council said

Construction workers put up boarding next to the Banksy artwork on the side of a residential building in Hornsey Road, Finsbury Park

Construction workers put up boarding next to the Banksy artwork on the side of a residential building in Hornsey Road, Finsbury Park

One disgruntled Londoner vented their frustration after receiving a letter from the council’s Homes and Neighbourhoods Department, claiming that their concerns fell on deaf ears until now.

READ MORE: Elusive artist Banksy reveals he IS behind tree mural which popped up overnight on side of north London building – but locals fear their rent is now about to rocket!

The anonymous resident shared an image of the letter, dated March 22, from the desk of Ian Swift, the council’s Director of Housing Operations and Deputy Corporate Director.

The letter reads: ‘Dear resident, Due to the new Banksy art installation adjacent to Christie Court, we know you are experiencing increased numbers of visitors to your estate.

‘While the council welcomes public art, we also recognise that local people are experiencing some impacts from the numbers of people gathering nearby.

‘To reduce the effects of the visitors the council has installed additional fencing to keep people further away from your homes, installed signage to ask visitors to be respectful and we have installed a CCTV camera to monitor activity around the tree and artwork.

‘We are in contact with the building owner, who is the legal owner of the artwork and will keep you informed of any security measure that the owner puts in place.

‘We believe that the visitor numbers will fall in the coming weeks as we all adjust to living with this new art installation.

Workers have begun putting wooden boards in front of the mural. apparently to prevent large crowds from gathering nearby

Workers have begun putting wooden boards in front of the mural. apparently to prevent large crowds from gathering nearby 

The council said a CCTV camera has also been installed in the area to monitor activity around the tree and artwork

The council said a CCTV camera has also been installed in the area to monitor activity around the tree and artwork

Members of the public look at a mural by the artist Banksy following it's defacement with white paint, on March 20

Members of the public look at a mural by the artist Banksy following it’s defacement with white paint, on March 20

Large crowds have been gathering outside the block of flats to view the artwork, which the council says caused residents to raise concerns

Large crowds have been gathering outside the block of flats to view the artwork, which the council says caused residents to raise concerns 

‘Islington is already home to four Banksy artworks in different locations and these do not attract the number of visitors you are currently seeing.

‘We thank you for being supportive of Islington’s creativity, and for your understanding and patience as we work to manage issues relating to the many people who want to see the art installation.’

READ MORE: Who is Banksy? From ex-public school boy to Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja…and now a builder from Finsbury Park: The convincing (and not so convincing) theories about elusive street artist’s true identity

The tenant claims no such ‘security measures’ were ever put in place to protect residents when asked to combat anti-social behaviour.

Concerns centre around one supposed troublemaker tenant, whose alleged drug use has brought drug deals, prostitution and violence to the neighbourhood’s doorstep.

The resident wrote in a post on Reddit alongside the snap of the letter: ‘Many of the residents have been living here peacefully for a significant amount of time. We used to hold community gatherings and parties in the garden area around the back.

‘But, in recent years the council moved in a person that regularly takes drugs, brings drug dealers and users onto the estate.

‘There is a foul smell coming from the property that lingers. They have been reported to the council and there hasn’t been anything done to try and resolve our issue.

‘The resident in question was evicted and then reinstated in the property.. We only knew this when all the furniture was removed by the council, and they were found sleeping rough on the grass area.

‘During that time, they were prostituting in the quiet road of Pine Grove.

‘There have been numerous fights and brawls in the street which recently led to someone smearing excrement on the intercom of the building.

‘The residents have kindly asked for gates and/or CCTV to prevent this happening, but we have been met with no money in the budget.

The new banksy mural appeared on March 18, with the elusive artist claiming it as his own the same day

The new banksy mural appeared on March 18, with the elusive artist claiming it as his own the same day

It was created with green paint behind a bare tree to resemble foliage, with a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose depicted next to it.

It was created with green paint behind a bare tree to resemble foliage, with a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose depicted next to it.

Unfortunately the mural was later defaced with white paint just a few days later

Unfortunately the mural was later defaced with white paint just a few days later 

A wire fence was then put in front of it to prevent any onlookers from getting too close

A wire fence was then put in front of it to prevent any onlookers from getting too close

‘As wonderful as it is to have this art piece it’s only highlighted that Islington Council doesn’t care about its residents and Ian Swift thinks a piece of art is more valuable than human life.

‘What would you do in this situation?’

The concerned tenant’s post received over 160 likes and more than 50 comments from other Londoners who echoed the frustration.

One user said: ‘As unfortunate as it sounds, most do value a piece of art (that’s worth money) more than human lives, well, money generally valued higher than human lives.

‘Nothing much you can do in this situation, because that is unlikely to change, no matter who is in power.’

Another added: ‘Islington Council are incompetent at best.’

A third wrote: ‘Complain to the social housing ombudsman. Councils are s**t which is why they are regulated by the ombudsman.’

Another replied: ‘Just wash that garbage off, Banksy just needs to retire..’

An Islington Council spokesperson said: ‘We want everyone to feel safe at home and we take reports of anti-social behaviour seriously.

‘The new security measures at Christie Court have been installed in direct response to concerns raised by tenants over the last week about crowds gathering and the disruption this is causing to their lives.

‘We are committed to working with our communities to tackle anti-social behaviour. We encourage residents to report it to us and we welcome conversations to help us solve it.’