Former Brent leader told to remove 'inspiring' mural from garage

Paul Lorber has been told to remove a mural from his garage in North Wembley

Paul Lorber has been told to remove a mural from his garage in North Wembley - Credit: Le Spleen

A former council leader who had a mural painted on his garage to cheer people up during the pandemic has been told he might have to remove it. 

Paul Lorber said it was “a shame” Brent Council wrote to him threatening enforcement action if he did not change it back.

The former Liberal Democrat councillor, who led the council between 2006 and 2010, commissioned local artist Le Spleen to paint over his “boring” garage front in Stapenhill Road, North Wembley, to add a bit of colour to the area. 

The mural – depicting a colourful bird, sunflowers and the words “don’t give up” – was intended to inspire people still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Paul said: “We felt this would cheer people up and raise their spirits. There’s a lot of boring garage doors out there and we thought it could do with a bit of brightening up. 

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“It’s an opportunity to do something nice in the area so it’s a shame that someone must have complained about it.”

Paul explained there are some rules about painting over surfaces in conservation areas and he has had the painting modified to address this.

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He said he “won’t break the law” and will ultimately change things if he has to but that he is “not giving up” in his battle to maintain it. 

He is in the process of finding out what his rights are and said he would do his best to ensure the mural remains up. 

Paul added there are plans to put more murals up across Brent, which was the Mayor of London's Borough of Culture for 2020. 

He said: “We intend to do more where we can. There are a lot of neglected or vandalised areas that could be improved. 

“Often you get people just tagging areas but it seems to happen less if there are proper murals up – even taggers respect murals.”

He added he hopes to see as many people as possible visiting the garage, in Stapenhill Road, so they can enjoy a Brent artist’s work. 

A Brent Council spokesperson said: “We investigated this matter following a complaint from a concerned resident.

"Mr Lorber lives within a Conservation Area, and painting a mural of this kind conflicts with the conservation area requirements.

“Mr Lorber was therefore made aware of his responsibility to remove the mural.”

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