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Location of Banksy's Art Buff in Folkestone announced

By Matt Leclere

The return of Folkestone's Banksy to public display has been announced.

We can exclusively reveal Art Buff will be going back on show in the town next year.

The artwork will appear on a new building being constructed in Folkestone close to the original location in the town's Payers Park.

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The Art Buff piece created by Banksy in 2014

It is being specially built into the new building, which the Creative Foundation aims to have completed in 2018.

Creative Foundation chief executive Alastair Upton said: "We looked around and had a number of buildings.

"We chose a few and got quotes to get it back in.

"It's an internal structure to the buildings because it's so heavy.

"We thought then we'll put it in a glass box at the top of Payers Park and look at it where it once was.

"Four companies do that. Three refused to quote, another quoted £75,000. We don't have that.

Art Buff on display in Miami. Picture: Hrag Vartanian

"We brought it to the Quarterhouse and thought about laying it but it's a sprung floor.

"We decided in the end that we have to build a new building and design the Banksy into it.

"We've got a building in mind and it will be out there in 2018.

"We know what to do, we've worked it out."

Architects have been tasked with designing the building to house the two-and-a-quarter tonne Art Buff which appeared in September 2014 and was removed just six weeks later.

Mr Upton remained coy on the exact location of the "little courtyard area" but assured the public they will be able to go and see it and that it will be protected with glass and CCTV.

Thousands flocked to see the piece before it was removed and put into storage by the Godden family who lost their legal fight because they did not own the rights to the building. Picture: Freddie Lee Thompson

He did reveal it would be in one of two new buildings built by the Creative Foundation that will be close to the original location where Bansky painted the piece and although he did not confirm the exact location or building, added: "You can probably work it out."

Some have suggested it will create a new "shrine" to the piece, which came back to the town in 2015 following a court showdown over the ownership of the wall on which the piece was painted.

It has been in storage ever since with news announced today for the first time about its future permanent home - in the town's Creative Quarter.

Mr Upton was speaking at a Folkestone Triennial event at The Quarterhouse venue called A Banksy in Your Town: A Blessing or a Curse.

"We decided in the end that we have to build a new building and design the Banksy into it" - Alastair Upton

He chaired an hour-long discussion with Bansky specialist and dealer, Robin Barton of the Bankrobber gallery in London.

They were joined by Folkestone Triennial curator Lewis Biggs and lawyer Tim Maxwell who represented the Creative Foundation during a court case which saw the charity gain ownership of the Banksy.

Mr Barton was a villain of the piece when Art Buff was removed after being asked to sell the work for the Godden family.

They believed they owned the rights allowing them to cut out the piece for Mr Barton to sell in America.

He admitted he "did not like" Art Buff calling it a "terrible piece of art" with its only value being for selfies.

Mr Barton also suggested the Dover Banksy piece will be kept "exactly where it is", speaking on behalf of the Godden family who he is representing.

But he did say he expected them to ask for some kind of "financial remuneration" for keeping it on the building.

Mr Upton revealed the foundation paid £9,500 to own the rights of the Banksy from the owner of the building in Rendezvous Street where Art Buff was painted but could not afford to risk money on the legal fees if they lost the case.

They were underwritten by Sir Roger De Haan, who said to him he wanted to get it back to his hometown, because the foundation could not risk the loss if it lost the case.

He said: "Roger provided the money to bring it back.

"We needed somebody to underwrite it on the legal fees. We couldn't have done it without him."

The court case determined who owned the bricks and plaster on to which the piece was painted.

It was claimed the artwork was going to be sold at auction in the USA with proceeds going towards a cancer charity founded in memory of the late Jimmy Godden, who died in 2012.

The Palace Amusements building on which the painting appeared overnight in September 2014 was leased by the Godden family, who run the amusements arcade.

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