Remoaners outraged as UK council tears down £1m Banksy tribute to European Union

The decision to tear down a valuable £1m Banksy tribute to the Brexit vote has left residents of one UK seaside town furious.

Dover District Council tore down a piece by the infamous graffiti artist depicting a man shattering one of the stars on the EU’s flag that was painted on the side of a structure.

The painting appeared in 2017, more than a year following the Brexit vote, and had a tumultuous existence in Dover, where more than 60 percent of locals voted to exit the EU.

The piece was mysteriously whitewashed in 2019 before the council acquired the building, but art dealers believed the mural was still beneath the paint and valued it at £1 million in 2022.

The council – which has embarked on a £25 million regeneration scheme – has promised to restore the work of art but has confessed to only having saved “bits” of the original.

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Furious locals have condemned the council’s decision to go ahead with the demolition, just a year after an expert art dealer compared the move to destroying the Eiffel Tower or the Mona Lisa.

One Kent local reacting to the news commented that when they drove by every day, they “noticed how it became a tourist attraction”.

They noted people coming to the mural with cameras and suggested the activity “could have helped perk up the nearby businesses”.

Rambling Remoaners used the artwork to complain about the 2016 vote, comparing its destruction to the “loss of freedom” caused by Brexit.

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They wrote: “I agree that the loss of this work of art is nothing compared to the loss of freedom and potential caused by the political mistake it was describing.”

But they were slapped down by other locals, with one telling remain voters to “accept the outcome”.

They said: “Honestly, six years later and people are still moaning about Brexit. We are OUT of the EU, stop going on about it and just accept the outcome.”

Kevin Mills, the Dover District Council leader, said some “bits” of the work were saved by contractors DDS Demolition and that officials were studying previous photos of the artwork to aid restoration efforts.

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Speaking to The Sun Online, a spokeswoman for DDS Demolition said the remains of the mural were now with an art restorer with experience working on Banksy restorations.

She said: “We can’t confirm the state the picture will be in and how much we can salvage, but the intention is very much to be able to return it for display to the local community.

“Everything we had has been given over to the restorer. We were looking to salvage the picture, so the building was taken down very carefully in an unusual way.”

A council spokesman said it would likely be “some time” before the form can understand whether efforts to conserve the Banksy have proven successful.

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