Plan for Dalston Peace Mural worries campaigners
- Credit: Archant
Concerns over the future of a celebrated piece of street art have been raised after the council decided to lease the building it’s on to a developer.
Hackney Council voted to hand the property emblazoned with the Dalston Peace Mural in Dalston Lane to a developer during a cabinet meeting on Monday evening after claiming it was the best way to fund repairs to the building.
But campaigners are angry the public weren’t consulted and concerned that the brand new company it has been leased to – Dalston Lane Property LLP – has no proven track record of carrying out any similar restoration project.
The company, which also owns the two neighbouring properties, hopes to turn all three buildings into a bar and restaurant.
Bill Parry-Davies, founder of environmental group Open Dalston, said: “The Dalston Peace Mural is an iconic cultural landmark and part of a building which Hackney has allowed to become derelict. It seems extraordinary that, without consultation or marketing, Hackney should agree to sell it to a new venture.”
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Ruth Miller, a spokeswoman for The London Mural Society, said: “Such an important local landmark should be kept within the care of local groups.”
The mural, featured on Hackney band Rudimental’s album cover, was designed by prominent community artist Ray Walker and painted in 1985 by his wife Anna Walker and colleague Mick Jones after his untimely death in 1984. It is inspired by the 1983 Hackney Peace Carnival.
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Hackney Council bought the building in 2010 but it’s currently vacant and it believes that leasing the building is the best way to ensure the repairs – estimated between £400,000 to £500,000 - are done.
Cllr Karen Alcock, cabinet member for property and housing policy, issued a statement, saying: “Currently the property is in a very poor state of repair and requires more than £420,000 of urgent structural works; but Dalston Lane Property LLP are willing, under the terms of the lease, to carry out this work and protect both the building and the mural.
“We have also commissioned a firm who are experts in conservation and restoration to carry out a full audit of the mural and set out what work needs be carried out in order to preserve it.”
Anthony Thomas, partner of Dalston Lane Property LLP, responded to concerns, saying that it had access to the cash funds to fully refurbish the property. He added: “This will be both a contractual and moral obligation and we fully understand the duty of care that it entails.”