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Missing Banksy piece in Dover - Charlie Elphicke MP blames Historic England

ByRebecca Tuffin

Fury is growing over the disappearance of an iconic Banksy piece.

One MP has spoken out and said Historic England should "hang their heads in shame" for not protecting the artwork.

The Banksy mural in Dover
The Banksy mural in Dover

People noticed the street art on the side of the former Castle Amusements building in Townwall Street, Dover was missing at the weekend.

The piece shows a workman chipping away at a star on the European flag, and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, is the latest to share his outrage.

In a tweet, he wrote: "I am very disappointed by the disappearance of the Dover Banksy - a culturally iconic statement on our times.

"We asked Historic England to use their powers to protect this work but they refused. This is the result. They should hang their heads in shame."

The Banksy mural can no longer be seen on the side of the former amusements arcade
The Banksy mural can no longer be seen on the side of the former amusements arcade

He later added Historic England previously listed the Abbey Road crossing and a 1960s Bournemouth bus depot described as “hideous”.

The MP said: "If they are going to list things like that, they should have listed a culturally important piece of art like our Banksy."

Earlier this month, Mr Elphicke revealed he was continuing to press Dover District Council to protect it, after launching a Save Our Banksy campaign back in 2017.

Many others have supported Mr Elphicke's views on the matter.

One user wrote: "Whatever side of the fence you are on this is an important cultural comment of our times. Remember that in Germany in the 1930s the government burnt books with the "wrong" ideology and destroyed art they did not agree with."

Another said: "This is shocking. I am reviewing my Historic England membership."

Dover and Deal MP Charile Elphicke
Dover and Deal MP Charile Elphicke

And an art dealer from Essex, dealing in Banksy's since 2003, has referred to the disappearance as "an act of sacrilege".

Historic England has said they were not able to consider listing the piece simply because it is not old enough.

A spokesman said: "We were asked to assess a building in Dover in 2017 for listing in an attempt to secure the future of the ‘Banksy Brexit’ mural.

"While Historic England recognises the mural is locally important, it didn’t meet the criteria for listing because it is too young.

"Listing is not a means of protecting a work of art of this nature and of such recent date.”

The organisation only lists buildings which are 30 years old or more.

But some people don't think the disappearance is such a bad thing.

One Twitter user said: "Historic England are following their remit it seems. Banksy's graffiti, admittedly better than most, is still just graffiti."

Fears for the piece, valued at £1 million, had been growing in recent weeks as the paintwork appeared to deteriorate.

It is still not clear whether the street art has been removed or painted over to protect it.

Dover District Council claims it was not involved in the disappearance and the Godden family, who own the Townwall Street property, have also been contacted for a comment.

Art expert John Brandler spoke to KMTV about the mural

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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