THE BUSINESSMAN given care of the peace mural by Hackney council has denied that the landmark monument has been privatised.
Anthony Thomas phoned Loving Dalston to reject its claim that the council intended to privatise the Dalston mural.
His company, Dalston Lane Property LLP, is to lease 15 Dalston Lane, the derelict terrace building on which the mural has been painted, and spend up to £420,000 to protect both the structure and the artwork. With Nos 17-19, No 15 will form part of Farr’s School of Dancing, a restaurant.
Thomas said: “There was a fear that Hackney was looking to offload the mural. But the council wants to retain ownership longer term because there might be a Crossrail near by and the mural would need extra care to prevent its being damaged by underground work.
Taking on the mural building had not been a light undertaking. “No 15 had been squatted,” he said. “And we had a problem getting the people out. But we wanted the extra space for Farr’s.”
Asked about his conservation experience, Thomas said: “I’ve been involved in property since the mid-1990s and I’m a publican. I’m not a conservation specialist – but the people who do know about murals will be involved.
“I shall ensure that we get the best guidance from the people who have the experience. The mural’s not being privatised: we [at Dalston Lane Property LLP] are not buying the building. We are delighted to become custodians of the mural. I always use it as a pointer in Dalston and it’s important that it be maintained.
“Equally, we don’t want to find ourselves looking after the Dalston equivalent of the Sistine chapel.
“We’re taking a 15-year lease, so obviously we want to hand it back in a good condition.”
He hoped the restaurant would open in autumn this year, 2013. Planning permission for the ground and lower ground floor at 17-19 had been obtained by Antic, a formerly associated business. He said: “We have to make another application for the upper parts and for no 15.”
If the application failed, would the company have to withdraw from the whole project, a consideration likely to make the application impossible to turn down? No, said Thomas – the planners and planning committee would have their own independent view.
David Altheer 100713
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