It has been a while since we updated you guys on the fate of Banksy's Spy Booth in Cheltenham. As a quick recap, the piece was discovered back in April, not far from the GCHQ British Intelligence Agency's headquarters. Earlier this month, scaffolding appeared around the mural, and The Independent reported that it was to be moved to a gallery on July 4, but a temporary stop notice killed that plan and gave residents at least the rest of the month to visit the artwork. The notice will soon expire, but retired chartered surveyor Phil Jones claims to have proof that could keep the piece public and out of the hands of private dealers.
According to the BBC, Jones has obtained a Land Registry title that shows that the wall where Spy Booth is painted belongs to the UK government, specifically the Department of Transport, not the homeowner who is trying to remove it, Roger Wilson. Jones suggests that the wall is actually "the internal wall of another house, the rest of which was demolished about 50 years ago." It sounds like a bit of a stretch, but if his claims are substantiated, it could be a small victory for Banksy fans and a "fuck you" to Roger Wilson, who is reportedly seeking legal advice about the situation.
Jones tells the BBC that the government should "acknowledge that they own it, and that it's in the public realm for the benefit of the people of Cheltenham." Given that the local council already halted the removal once, it may pounce on this new development and save the art for the streets after all... then again, things are never that black and white when governments (or street art) are involved.
We will definitely keep an eye on this story as the month comes to an end.