The Lady vanishes: council erases Gorleston bus shelter artwork

The bus shelter on Magdalen Way in Gorleston which has had it's striking street art image of a lady removed and repainted black.

Picture: James Bass The bus shelter on Magdalen Way in Gorleston which has had it's striking street art image of a lady removed and repainted black. Picture: James Bass

Friday, May 30, 2014
12:48 PM

New street art by an unknown graffiti artist called Emo has been painted over by the council within a week of appearing in a gloomy bus shelter in Gorleston.

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A large piece of street art has appeared within the bus shelter on Magdalen Way, close to Trinity Avenue in Gorleston.

Picture: James BassA large piece of street art has appeared within the bus shelter on Magdalen Way, close to Trinity Avenue in Gorleston. Picture: James Bass

The art work featuring a striking image of a young woman holding a candle had won many admirers and been described as “poetic” and “beautiful.”

Its removal has triggered an angry response from local people who have tagged as “vandalism” the council’s swift response and said they should have been consulted about its future.

Val Lynch, 62, who has lived opposite the bus shelter in Magdalen Way for 20 years said at least 35 people he had spoken to were “totally outraged.”

“Everybody thought it was wonderful,” he said. “Both sides of the shelter are still covered in graffiti and the council have never done anything about that, but they have painted out the mural.

“It is perverse. Everybody thought it was excellent. Everyone on the estate said it was lovely and these people have just gone out and destroyed it.

“They have a responsibility to look after their property and they have disregarded that property for 20 years, until now. It is an act of vandalism and it is unacceptable. I do not pay my council tax for this. It was a work of art and they are a public service riding roughshod over everyone.”

The former engineer said the image was infinitely preferable to the daubings and rude images that adorned the bus shelter before the art work appeared.

And because of the level of local respect for the graffiti art it would probably have remained unmolested by other tags and slogans.

He said GYB Services took two trips to permanently erase any trace of the image.

Des Speed, a local resident and bus stop user, said the image was beautiful and thanked the artist for brightening his wait at the bus stop.

Meanwhile Clare Steward, director of learning at Great Yarmouth High School and an art teacher described the work as “very Banksy-like” and “poetic” adding: “Obviously an artist of soul.”

However Great Yarmouth Borough Council said last week it intended to remove the image, which had been applied without consent.

The picture looked to have been created using the same stencilling techniques as the guerilla artist Banksy. His work sells for tens of thousands of pounds but is also often removed by the authorities.

A spokesman for the borough council said staff had dealt with the graffiti, following a report last week.

The authority said its only option to remove it was to paint over it, as removing it using a jet wash, scrubbers and chemicals would have been ineffective as there was so much “thick black paint” on the wall. Cleaners will return next week to remove the smaller graffiti scribblings inside the shelter.

The spokesman added: “Regardless of personal tastes or opinions, painting, writing, spraying or etching onto any surface, without the consent of the owner, is always criminal damage, regardless of whether it is a council-owned bus shelter, a front door or a private car. It also wastes money.”

Pictured left are some of your comments on the Letters pages this week.

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