Burley Banksy: BT Openreach issues statement on painting over colourful murals across Leeds

BT has released a statement on an ongoing dispute with Burley Banksy over murals painted on telephone boxes in Leeds.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:10 pm

Leeds residents were left furious after the artist, real name Andy McVeigh, revealed BT had painted over his murals in Rothwell following complaints from residents.

He slammed the decision to repaint the boxes green, calling it "unnecessary and quite staggering".

In a Facebook post, Andy added: "They have made a vague statement that they may paint over all of them throughout Leeds and charge me for doing this too.

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A Burley Banksy mural near Elland Road
A Burley Banksy mural near Elland Road

"I'm presuming this would include the 'Thank you NHS' ones outside our Leeds hospitals too ,which would be an extraordinarily unpleasant thing to do in my opinion after nurses etc have literally died for us."

However Openreach the division of BT that maintains telephone boxes, claims Burley Banksy did not ask the company if he could paint over the cabinets.

An Openreach spokesperson said that Andy is aware of the application process for painting on BT boxes and that this had not been followed.

In a statement released to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Openreach said: “We’ve already been in touch with the Burley Bansky to talk this through and we’re keen to continue that conversation directly.

"We’ve worked with many communities and groups in the past, all over the UK, who've wanted to paint our green cabinets to reflect themes important to them – and we have a simple permissions process which allows us to consider these requests in the context of our commercial, legal and health and safety obligations.

"Whilst we agree with any messages of support for the NHS and key workers, we weren’t asked if our cabinets could be painted and much of this artwork isn’t related to keyworkers but is instead being used for commercial gain.

"We’ve also received several complaints from local people unhappy with the artwork – which we have to take into consideration. We’re keen to continue the conversation with both the artist and the wider community to see if we can find a solution that works for everyone.”

Andy told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "We've been through such dark times and I'm trying to help with mental health, adding some colour to Leeds.

"I don't want credit, and I get a lot out of it myself in terms of my own mental health. But I'm just trying to do something nice for free - and this has ruined it."

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