Recording studios’ bosses battle Hackney Council to save giant graffiti rabbit

The bosses of a world famous recording studio in Hackney Road are fighting to save a popular piece of street art threatened by the council’s graffiti policy.

A 12ft painting of a rabbit by Belgian artist ROA on the wall of The Premises music studios and cafe faces the same fate as Stoke Newington’s Banksy mural, after town hall chiefs ordered its removal.

Owners of the studios, which have hosted the likes of Nina Simone to Leona Lewis, have been told they have 14 days to “obliterate” the artwork – created a year ago with their permission – or council workers will paint over the wall and send them the bill.

Outraged residents accused town hall officers of vandalism in September last year after they blacked out part of an iconic Banksy stencil in Stoke Newington Church Street.

More than 200 people signed an online petition within just two hours today (October 26) calling for the rabbit to be spared the same doom.

“It could happen to us – they could turn up one day and paint over it,” said Julia Craik, managing director of the studios.

“Everybody likes the rabbit - it isn’t offensive, it is an asset. It is really beautiful and it brings people into Hackney.

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“For a council to want to paint over something like that is insane.”

She said her company would refuse to remove the artwork as well as the council’s demands that it seeks planning permission for it, adding that she had written to the council but had received no reply.

“I would like to see Hackney Council review its entire policy about this.”

Hackney Council released a statement, saying: “The graffiti at 203 Hackney Road is clearly visible from the road and, whilst it is not the council’s position to make a judgement call on whether graffiti is art or not, our task is to keep Hackney’s streets clean.”

Owners were contacted on an informal basis with advice and this was followed by a letter and a visit to the property, it said.

“However, we are currently holding our enforcement action to allow the owner a further opportunity to seek planning advice about retaining the piece.”

To sign the petition to save the rabbit go to the link above.