WHEN is graffiti a mess to be painted over and when is it art?

This is the debate in Ludlow after an ‘artist’ or is it a ‘vandal’ got busy in the town.

Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow, says that the painting of a young woman in a telephone box in the town centre was rather good.

“It took your eye from the dilapidated front of Bet Fred,” said Mr Gill.

“A lot of people think it’s rather fun.

“Two other paintings appeared in Temeside on the old gas works wall a week earlier but were painted over.”

But the Mayor recognises that people will have different ideas when it comes to the merits of street art.

Andy Boddington, the Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North, that includes the Town Centre, also says that opinions will differ.

“All these illegal artworks send messages,” said Mr Boddington.

“All are graffiti. All could be described as vandalism or even criminal damage.

“But aren’t they art? Don’t they brighten up our town?

“Do they create talking points?

“These are not the only examples of graffiti around the town of late. Images on Temeside have been painted over.

“I hear that there has been graffiti on Bread Walk but haven’t seen it. And there is still a bit of random tagging around the town.

“That in my view doesn’t qualify as art.”

But he is more sympathetic to the telephone box art.

“I discovered to my horror that the phone box in the Market Square painted with artwork in recent days had been crudely painted white,” he added.

“But this attack last night has nothing to do with art. It was perpetrated by someone who denies freedom of expression. That person also cannot paint.

“There is white paint over the highway.

“Whoever was responsible should admit to the crime and clean up the mess they have created. They have committed a criminal act and might wish to turn themselves into the police.

“That act is criminal damage and a listed building offence.

“The telephone kiosk is a grade II listed building.

“This is also an attack on local artists.

“We can’t whitewash life in this town. We are a lively community and I hope will we remain so.

“Ludlow’s Mayor, Tim Gill, and I had applied to BT to keep the now destroyed artwork in place for a limited period. That permission was granted, hours after the painting was destroyed by a mindless idiot.

“I had thought of using the phone box for three or four murals short term a year, linked into festivals and events. But that inkling of thought has been destroyed by this disgraceful whitewash of local art.

“No application was made to Historic England for either the original artwork or its destruction.

“But BT had given permission for the now destroyed artwork to remain for a short period.

“Regardless, some mindless idiot decided to destroy it. I’m fuming.”