Council graffiti policy challenged as campaign to save Hackney Road’s ROA giant rabbit attracts thousands

The Premises Studios bosses pull up town hall on online petition

RECORDING studio bosses are challenging Hackney Council to rethink its entire policy on street art after more than 2,000 people signed a petition to save a giant graffiti rabbit.

Town hall chiefs sparked an outcry after they deemed a mural by renowned artist ROA on the wall of The Premises Studios in Hackney Road a “blight on the local environment”.

They ordered the studio’s owners to either remove the artwork within 14 days, or apply for planning permission. Otherwise, council workers would paint over the wall and send them the bill.

The Premises’ directors, Julia Craik and Viv Broughton, repeatedly rejected the demands and have formally called on the council to review its regulations, which have seen many other artworks around the borough – some by graffiti superstar Banksy – destroyed.

Local authorities are legally bound to provide an online petition that must trigger a debate at full council if it collects more than 750 signatures.

But the directors have argued in writing that, as the council does not currently offer this, their own petition – boasting 2,2249 signatures today (November 4) – should force a review.

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“We feel that a council has no right to determine what constitutes art and what does not, particularly when it is on private property,” they said.

“Street art brings in huge amounts of tourism, trade, international interest and the council’s policy of painting over some of its greatest assets is regressive and must be reviewed.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council has received the letter and we are reviewing the points raised.

“We continue to work with all the concerned parties to try and resolve this matter and will take no further action while we try to find a solution that satisfies all those involved.”

Meanwhile, the council is in the process of setting up a petition on its website, which she said would be available by the end of the year for people living or working in the borough.