Reading Borough Council has expressed its huge disappointment that the Banksy artwork on Reading Goal has been defaced.
Reacting to the images this morning which appeared on the Ministry of Justice land at the vacant prison site, Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock said:
“This is obviously hugely disappointing following the initial excitement in Reading recently when Banksy’s artwork appeared. How anyone can somehow think this is acceptable is completely beyond me, even if this is an extension of a historic feud, as is being suggested. There is understandable anger across the town today.
“The vacant Reading Goal site, including the perimeter wall which Banksy’s artwork is on, is private land owned by the Ministry of Justice.
“When the original artwork appeared, the Council made contact with the Ministry of Justice to ask it to make suitable arrangements to protect the image. We will now be contacting them again to see what action it intends to take. I’ve seen many people supporting the idea of restoring the artwork, which I also back in principle. As long as the site remains in the Ministry of Justice’s ownership, however, they would need to take the lead in facilitating this.”
The news comes the day after Reading Borough Council submitted a formal bid to the Ministry of Justice for the vacant Reading Goal site, which has been empty and unused since December 2013.
Councillor Brock added:
“The Council is pleased to confirm it has submitted a formal conditional bid for Reading Gaol, based on our long-term vision for a heritage and cultural led regeneration of the vacant site, which follows a three-month period of exclusivity afforded to the Council by the MoJ.
“As explained last week, the details and the conditions of the Council’s bid remain commercially confidential at this time, with other developers likely to be vying to gain the site. We once again thank all members of Reading’s community who have contributed to informing the Council’s vision.”