Beds, Herts & Bucks

Aldi supermarket could 'destroy' Milton Keynes mural

Bicycle Wall made by John Watson Image copyright Tim Skelton
Image caption Bicycle Wall was created by John Watson in 1978 with the help of local pupils

A "nationally important" mural made with the help of schoolchildren more than 40 years ago could be "destroyed" if it is is moved, an arts group says.

Aldi has asked Milton Keynes Council for permission to demolish Stantonbury retail centre and build a supermarket.

Bicycle Wall, a 1978 artwork on the side of the building featuring 1,200 tiles, would be "reprovided elsewhere (nearby)", the retailer said in plans.

Aldi said it was exploring how it could be "preserved for the community".

The artwork, created by John Watson, was made with the help of pupils from the former Stantonbury School, now known as Stantonbury International School.

Emily Orchard, a former pupil of the school, said: "It is central to the identity of the local area.

"It is important as a new city that we look after these pieces of history and keep it where it is."

Image copyright Tim Skelton
Image caption The artwork consists of 1,200 tiles

Ian Mitchie, chairman of Public Arts Trust Milton Keynes, said he wanted the "nationally important, ceramic mural" to be kept "in situ" and be "encompassed" within the new building.

He has applied to Historic England on behalf of the trust to have the artwork listed.

"I am pretty sure it will be destroyed if it is moved," he said.

"Milton Keynes, although the butt of many jokes, has some real history and a great cultural heritage. It has a wonderful collection of contemporary public art of which we are rightly proud."

A spokeswoman for Aldi said it hoped a new supermarket would bring "much-needed investment" to the district and create up to 40 jobs.

She said: "We are working with Stantonbury Parish Council and Milton Keynes Council to explore how this mural can be relocated within the local area and preserved for the community."

The application is currently under consideration by the council and people can comment online.

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