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Gidea Park gallery could face £2,500 fine if it doesn’t apply for planning permission for mural above shop

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 December 2018

Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.

Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.

Archant

A Gidea Park shop owner has been told by the council he has to apply for planning permission for a mural outside his shop or he could be fined £2,500.

The colourful mural at Picture Frame Gallery in Main Road was painted last year, and owner Mark Belda has said he won’t apply to the council because he believes it doesn’t advertise his business.

The council has said the mural “draws extra attention” to his shop, so definitely requires advertisement consent.

There have also been complaints from residents and community groups because it is in a conservation area, and they have said it’s damaging the character of the area.

However more than 600 people have signed a petition to keep the artwork.

Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.

Mark said: “The council should be encouraging art like this, they have put similar pieces up in Romford, and lots of people love those and this one is no different.

“The reason that we put the mural there in the first place was because a number of times people would graffiti on the wall, and we thought this would stop that.

“I don’t class it as advertising, it doesn’t have any name of the shop or anything, it’s just a wall mural.”

He described the mural as part of the “Shoreditch effect” and said he is hoping it will attract more people to the area.

Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.

The mural was created by artist Ryan Callanan – Ryca – and Mark stocks his work in the shop.

Ryan said: “I’ve had my art displayed in Miami, Japan and all across the world, and around the corner from where I live they want to tear it down because they think it is advertising.

“I think it is short-sighted by the council, we’re going to become a commuter town, and I’ve had people from outside of the area come to visit the mural, it has attracted tourists.

“The council should be supporting culture like this and not trying to have it taken down.”

Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.Picture Frame Gallery owner Mark Belda with the mural that the council want to class as advertising.

But Havering Council leader Councillor Damian White said: “The council first contacted the owner of Picture Frame Gallery in Gidea Park less than six months after the mural was put up.

“We advised the owner of the building that the mural definitely requires advertisement consent as it draws extra attention to his business.

“The council has given the owner the option to either remove it or make a valid application for advertisement consent but he has done neither.

“This mural has also been put up in a conservation area and we have received a number of complaints from residents and community groups, that it’s damaging the character of the area. We have been left with no choice but to prosecute.”

To sign the online petition go to the Change.org website.

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