Leeds United graffiti artist Burley Banksy's work could be painted over after complaints

Murals in support of Leeds United and the NHS by street artist 'Burley Banksy' could be painted over after a complaint about a display in Rothwell.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 3:37 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 6:38 pm
Burley Banksy's Pinderfields mural
Burley Banksy's Pinderfields mural

The street artist, whose real name is Andy McVeigh, painted a tribute to the NHS outside Pinderfields Hospital to thank doctors and nurses helping to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, as well as many Leeds United themed murals around the Elland Road area.

He said Openreach which owns the cabinets, has painted over a mural in Rothwell and was worried further works may be painted over, including tributes to NHS staff and former Leeds star Gary Speed.

Writing on Twitter, he said: "After receiving a few complaints, BT have painted over my art in Rothwell & said may paint over all my art on their boxes, poss charge me for it. Presume includes ones thanking NHS outside Leeds hospitals, G Speed, etc."

In his tweet Mr McVeigh, who said he was born at Pinderfields Hospital, included a picture of the offending display, painted in blue and yellow with the words "You look nice today, Rothwell".

Many fans on Twitter wrote messages of support and said the murals brightened up the area.

One said: "Why would anyone complain about these? Brighter up the area and look great. What they should do is survey people in the areas, and tally up complaints against those who are happy with them, and if lots of complaints, then fair enough, but will be odd 1 or 2!"

Another said: "I’m really disappointed they would do this. As someone who works for the NHS, when I saw your artwork appear outside my place of work, the LGI, it made me smile during a very difficult time. I hope they reconsider this decision."

Mr McVeigh has been coming up with creative designs to paint over graffiti or brighten up dull electrical boxes and bollards since

Dubbed the 'Burley Banksy' by his friends due to his art-style and elusiveness, he creates pieces for iconic moments throughout the history of the club.

But not everyone is a fan of the work.

Back in September 2019 the artist was "devastated" after 14 of his Leeds United murals were painted over by an anti-graffiti group.

A spokeswoman for Openreach said: “We’ve already been in touch with the Burley Banksy 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.”

On its website Openreach says: "Openreach Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Telecommunications plc but is independently governed. Openreach Limited trades on behalf of British Telecommunications plc."