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Women's Business Club Supports Cheltenham Banksy, Spy Booth

Cheltenham Banksy Timeline:

Make a pledge to save Banksy or get in touch by email at rendezvous@thespycentre.co.uk


30th July 18:00
Banksy to continue listening in on Cheltenham
Cash deal discussions with local philanthropist look set to secure street art for the people of Georgian spa town:

The much publicised work in Cheltenham by street artist Banksy, which has won popular appeal for poking fun at the UK’s Cheltenham-based Government spy centre, GCHQ, is set to stay in the town once the details of the cash deal are finally agreed with the owner of the Hewlettt Road property and their advisors.

Local businessman and philanthropist, Mr Hekmat Kaveh, has offered a significant but an undisclosed sum to retain the artwork in Cheltenham and in its original location.

The Save the Banksy Group led by Cheltenham businesswoman, Angela de Souza, had been appealing for funds to preserve the depiction of three shady-looking men with surveillance equipment surrounding a telephone box and supporting a satellite dish, when Mr Kaveh stepped in. The timing has been critical because today, 30th July, was due to be the expiry date of the temporary stop notice issued by Cheltenham Borough Council.

Mr Kaveh stated: “Having spoken to many people over the last few weeks, and reading many comments on social media, I have concluded that there is a very strong feeling about this work. It seems that Cheltenham generally is in support of, not only retaining the Banksy in the town, but in its current location, where it was clearly intended to be.” The move to provide the funding is subject only to receiving support from a number of public and other agencies, such as planning, listed building, highways, and Cheltenham Borough Council. It’s already been revealed that most are in support of retaining the wall painting in its location.

Mr Kaveh has long felt that with Cheltenham’s long-established links to GCHQ, a ‘Spy Museum’ should be set up in the town. He said: “That project is still of great importance to me and I hope it is still a possibility. Whether this is in the property immediately behind the Banksy painting, or in another location, will require considerable thought, discussion and consultation with many different bodies, as well as the public.

“I do not feel that I am ready to make any particular commitments in that respect, other than giving my wholehearted support for the scheme to protect Banksy’s artwork.

“As such, I shall continue to work very closely with the hard-working individuals who form the Save the Banksy Group”, concluded Mr Kaveh.

Commenting on the generous cash offer, Angela de Souza said “I am sure the whole town extend their gratitude to Mr Kaveh for stepping in like this to prevent the loss of this artwork, which allows more time for discussions and hopefully a firm agreement between all parties concerned. For sure it’s great news for the people of Cheltenham.”

29th July 13:25
We are delighted that Montpellier PR have come on board to assist us with the PR. A great big thank you to Guy Woodcock and his team.

23rd July 20:40
We have had a third meeting tonight at 5pm on the 23rd July 2014 with the group of business people who are keen to save the Spy Booth Banksy in Cheltenham. Anyone seeking to acquire the Banksy will need to satisfy themselves that they can acquire the legal title. We are trying to clarify the legal status at present. Rumours are circulating about the title of this asset and our solicitor has written to the owner’s solicitor. Until this is resolved we cannot move forward.

16th July 22:40
We are pleased to announce that we have had a second fruitful meeting tonight at 5pm on 16th July 2014 with the group of business people who are keen to save the Spy Booth Banksy in Cheltenham. Solicitors have been instructed on both sides. John Stagg, of Quality Solicitors Thomson & Bancks, will be the solicitor representing the business people, and will communicate directly with David Possee and Robin Barton’s solicitor. Terms are being negotiated and the legal situation needs to be satisfactorily resolved before we can move forward. A community bank account has been opened and three trustees have been agreed for the charity application which should be submitted early next week.

9th July 9:00
8 Jul Meeting Feedback: We are looking into some legal aspects that require clarification and will investigate this over the next week. Our target figure is £650K and we are pursing a number of leads who may contribute to this. In the meantime we are creating a charity that will manage this project. We meet again next Wednesday when we hope to have some clarity and a concrete plan for the way forward.

7th July 15:20
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Sajid Jahvid is coming to Cheltenham this week and will be visiting the Banksy to show his support for our campaign. Please join us on Thursday 10th Jul at 3pm. Bring banners and let's get a crowd together.

4th July 20:20

We have received a £100,000 gift from a local businessman who says that he is willing to match any amount another business is willing to put in. We have also received a £10,000 donation on the condition that other businesses match fund it.

3rd July 16:00
A group of intetested parties will be meeting on Tuesday, 8 July 2014 to consider the ‘Stop Notice’ and to formulate a comprehensive strategy in response. Please be patient while we work on this. The parties meeting are:

Angela De Souza, Director of Women's Business Club
Michael Ratcliffe, Chief Executive of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce
Denis Woulfe, Senior Partner at Deloitte
John Stagg, Solicitor at Quality Solicitors
Craig Alan-Walker, Commercial Marketing Manager at 16interactive
Alex Chalk, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Cheltenham
Hekmat Kaveh, Director of Abbey College

2nd July 9:00
An anonymous donation has been made by a local business of £10,000 on the condition that other businesses match fund. Our aim is to clear the £100,000 this week and secure the deal. The anonymous donor is a member of the Chamber of Commerce who are fully supportive of what we are trying to achieve.

Also, the domain name for The Spy Centre has been secured www.thespycentre.co.uk so any budding web developers want to start working on it?

1st July 14:20
Deloittes are assisting us pro bono with setting up a tax relief framework for donations made. Natwest are hurrying a community account through so we can bring all the pledged money together. Several other things in the pipeline, as soon as they are confirmed I will post it here.

30th June 5pm:
The Spy Centre: A satellite museum to the history and importance of GCHQ ‎and it's part in the security of our nation from Bletchley Park to Drone control in the middle east, including the Edward Snowden debate, Julian Assange and a host of other juicy tales....could be very cool and relevant to the area and the Banksy can be used as a bridge for a new generation to learn and understand its relevance into the future....a small admission charge and cool merchandising products could help earn it's keep very easily, one could possibly even utilise the actual call box in some fashion. The impact of this for Cheltenham would be phenomenal. We could potentially access Lottery funding for maintenance and upkeep and run schools tours, coffee shop, spy games, etc. GCHQ memorabilia has already been promised and some other Banksy pieces have been offered to display in this museum.

The Banksy Gallery: This would offer the other view of the GCHQ, the banksy messages sent through his street art, a look at street art and a gallery dedicated to street art.



13 August 2014 - London restorer called in to save Banksy
A curator is being drafted in from London to see if the vandalised Banksy in Cheltenham can be saved. Activists who want to see the Spy Booth remain on public view have called in a professional art restoration expert to examine the world-renowned piece. The graffiti artwork, which appeared overnight in April, has been targeted by vandals who recently spray-painted over the mural in Fairview. Gloucestershire police are investigating a further incident where someone seemingly tried to remove the mural using a drill on Sunday. Read the full story here.

1 August 2014 - Banksy VANDALISED
The Banksy art work in Cheltenham has been vandalised yet again. Dark, silver paint has been sprayed on the famous painting in the corner of Hewlett Road and Fairview Road overnight, leaving art lovers devastated. On Wednesday, Cheltenham millionaire Hekmat Kaveh announced his lawyers were speaking with the owners over a price which would allow a community group to buy the art work and building. Read the full story here.

30 July 2014 - Banksy SAVED
A hugely popular artwork by Banksy, close to surveillance agency GCHQ, appears to have been saved after a local millionaire businessman stepped in to buy the work for the community. There have been concerns that the work by the guerilla graffiti artist, dubbed Spy Booth, would be removed from the end-of-terrace house it was painted on in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and sold off. But on Wednesday night a stop notice expired which had prevented the building owner allowing the work to be removed. It was then entrepreneur Hekmat Kaveh vowed to buy the Banksy and make sure that it stayed put. Read the full story here.

29 July 2014 - Council stop notice to expire
Vandals have defaced a Banksy art work in Cheltenham which was subject to a ‘seven-figure’ bid. Visitors to the painting on a house at the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road were astonished to find a name scratched off the spy’s sunglasses. Two weeks ago, the hoardings around the site were taken down overnight after it had been covered up for nearly a month by London company Q Scaffolding. Read the full story here.

28 July 2014 - Cheltenham Banksy artwork government claims dismissed
Claims a Banksy image painted on a Cheltenham house belongs to the Department for Transport (DfT) have been dismissed. Campaigners trying to stop the artwork from being removed said they had proof the wall was owned by the government. They argued it was originally the interior wall of a house which was bought and demolished in the 1960s for road improvements. The DfT said it had owned the land but not the wall the picture was on. Title transfer Last week, retired chartered surveyor Phil Jones said a Land Registry title proved the wall was owned by the secretary of state for transport. But a DfT spokesman said: "Initial investigations by the Highways Agency suggest the land was bought for road construction in 1963, but responsibility for the road has since transferred to the local highway authority. "The Highways Agency is soon to formally transfer the registered titles from roads it no longer owns to the relevant local highway authorities." Read the full story here.

24 July 2014 - Dispute of Banksy wall ownership
The Banksy Spy Booth mural in Cheltenham belongs to the Secretary of State for Transport rather than the owner of the house it is on, it is being claimed. A retired chartered surveyor believes the wall is owned by the government but the homeowner, who is trying to sell the artwork, is seeking legal advice. Steve Knibbs reports. Watch full story here.

05 July 2014 - Fundraising Success
The "Spy Booth" mural depicting men "snooping" on a phone box appeared in April, three miles from the government communications headquarters, GCHQ. Angela De Souza said a businessman had donated £100,000 but it is thought campaigners will need about £650,000 to buy the painting and the house. Meanwhile, graffiti has appeared on boards placed in front of the artwork. Banksy style image Cheltenham A Banksy style image has since appeared on boards covering "Spy Booth" The campaign to save the "Spy Booth" mural started after scaffolding went up around the painting, sparking fears it would be removed and sold. Mrs De Souza, from the Women's Business Club, said a local businessman had given them £100,000 and was "willing to match any amount another business is willing to put in". Read full article and more about the £100,000 donation here.

02 July 2014 - Stop Order Issued by Council
The council's built environment enforcement manager, Mark Nelson, said: "Cheltenham borough council has issued a temporary stop notice to halt work on 159 Fairview Road for 28 days. The temporary stop notice has been served because the council considers that works have taken place to a Grade II listed building, which affects its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, without obtaining consent. "The purpose of the notice is to stop works whilst discussions take place about the next steps. It is worth clarifying that whilst the council is supportive of the public's desire to keep the artwork on this property, the temporary stop notice has been issued to protect the integrity of this listed building." Read full article

30 June 2014 - Financial Breakdown to Keep Banksy
CHANCES of Cheltenham retaining its iconic Banksy artwork are looking slim. Fundraisers have until midnight to raise £100,000 as a deposit to keep the spies graffiti, which is painted on a Fairview home. However, businesswoman Angela De Souza, who had got the stay of execution as the mural was about to be removed, s concerned about raising the cash before the midnight deadline. She said: “I have not achieved anything I have set out to achieve yet and the money is the hold up. We are nowhere near the £100,000 target. At one stage someone had pledged the money through the website set up, but when we looked into it further it was a big hoax, which is really disappointing.” Read full article

30 June 2014 - Negotiations To Keep Banksy
Robin Barton, the owner of the Bankrobber Gallery in London tells ITV News about the latest plans for the Cheltenham Banksy following the week's protests about its potential removal from the town. He explains why he is here and how there are some legal complications in a deal which could see the mural stay in the town. Read full article

29 June 2014 - Banksy is Safe For Now
Angela De Souza, who runs the Cheltenham Women’s Business Club said: “We haven’t yet raised what we need. “But we have managed to buy some time. I can’t say anything about what’s going on behind the scenes. But I appeal to the public not to do any damage to the Bansky. If any damage is done that will undo whatever progress we’ve managed to make And I ask the people of Cheltenham to continue pledging their support and money to help keep this in Cheltenham.” Read full article and more here.

27 June 2014 - Angela Challenges Community to Action
Cheltenham business woman Angela De Souza is trying to raise £1 million to buy the Banksy and keep it in Cheltenham. She said: "I have a few potential bidders and local businesses that are pledging. We need to raise a minimum of £1 million. The owner has said if we come up with an offer that interests them they will consider it." Read full article

27 June 2014 - Fears Over Banksy Being Removed
The battle over Cheltenham's Banksy continues. There's been speculation about the mural's future, since a scaffolding company started work at the site. Despite many people saying they're angry that 'Spybooth' is being removed scaffolding work continues. The company responsible also removed one of the artist's pieces from a wall in London. Yesterday they said they were only there to repair the building. Read full article

24 June 2014 - Scaffolding Appears Around Banksy
A specialist firm which boasts it is expert in removing Banksy street art started putting up scaffolding around the Cheltenham spies mural yesterday. But contractors working for Q Scaffolding denied they were there to remove the now famous painting, claming their kit was simply erected to allow the house's owner to re-render the property. The spy booth mural appeared on the Grade II-listed property in Hewlett Road overnight in April this year. Read full article

10 June 2014 - Banksy Confirmed
Banksy has admitted he painted a work of art depicting three spies "snooping" on a telephone box in Cheltenham. The work appeared in Hewlett Road in April, but until now there was no confirmation it was by the Bristol-based artist. But, in a question and answer session on Banksy's official website, he stated he had created the piece. It has attracted hordes of visitors since it appeared three miles away from the Government listening post, GCHQ. Read full article

22 April 2014 - #savethebanksy Fund Launched
Local business women Angela De Souza, director of the Women's Business Club and Lorah-Kelly Beard of Lorah Kelly Creative Photography, got involved with the campaign to save the Banksy artwork. This artwork has caused quite a stir in Hewlett Road and is attracting the national media with BBC Radio 1 tweeting "Happy #BanksyHoliday". Read full article and more here.

16 April 2014 - Banksy was Vandalised
Vandals attacked the street art in Cheltenham believed to be by Banksy - but residents were quickly on the scene to clean it up. Paint had been daubed on the art work, which featured men eavesdropping on the phone box on Hewlett Road. And while the faces were painted over in white paint, the community rallied in time. Read full article

13 April 2014 - Banksy Appeared
This £300,000 end-of-terrace house may have almost trebled in value after a work of art was covertly painted on one of its walls overnight. The mural, which shows three secret agents eavesdropping on conversations at a phone box, is thought to have been created by the mysterious street artist Banksy. It was spotted on Sunday morning on Karen Smith\'s house in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire a few miles from the GCHQ surveillance base. Ms Smith, 48, heard voices outside in the early hours but thought nothing of it until she spotted men loading huge screens into a van in the morning. Read full article

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