Stencilled artwork from the artist can be seen on walls across London, but Tower Hamlets is the first council to treat them as vandalism.
A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets Council said it had not thought of selling the potentially valuable artwork to help raise money for council services, but did not rule out such action being considered in the future. A statement said: “Tower Hamlets Council takes the cleanliness of the borough very seriously and is committed to removing all graffiti as soon as possible. Whilst some graffiti is considered to be art, we know that many of our residents think graffiti in areas where they live, such as local housing estates, is an eyesore.”
Tower Hamlets councillor Abdal Ullah said: “We need to be clear here, graffiti is a crime. It spoils the environment, makes our neighbourhoods feel less safe, and costs thousands of pounds each year to clean – money that could instead be paying for valuable local services.”
The future of a Banksy piece painted on a wall in Bristol recently went to public vote, with 97% of people saying it should be kept.
Should “nice” graffiti be cleaned up, or does it make a place a better living environment?