Cheltenham Banksy: Deal to save it 'close to agreement'

Man in phonebox with artwork on wall behind Image copyright AP
Image caption The artwork in Hewlett Road has attracted hordes of visitors since it appeared on 13 April

A deal is close to being done to keep a Banksy artwork on the side of a house in Cheltenham, according to a London art dealer.

Robin Barton, from the Bankrobber gallery, said a "six-figure" deal would allow "Spy Booth" to remain in place on the Grade II* listed building.

Locals have been trying to save it after it was claimed on Thursday it had been sold and would be removed.

The work, depicting men "snooping" on a telephone box, appeared in April.

Mr Barton said the owner of the house on the corner of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road on which it is painted had contacted him after hostility from the local community, when people found out it was due to be taken away.

'Death threats'

Mr Barton said: "The owner attempted to sell the piece through a London gallery. He found a speculative buyer who was prepared to go up to seven figures.

"He thought it would be a simple matter of having the piece cut out and handing it over - job done. And of course it never is with Banksy."

Mr Barton said the owner had received "death threats and abusive phone calls", and contacted him because he had experience of dealing with Banksy pieces.

"Work has absolutely stopped on removing it and hopefully it will not resume," he added.

Mr Barton added that an announcement was due to be made on Monday morning, after the local business community "rallied together" to pay for keeping it where it was.

Image caption Local campaigners have been trying to save the artwork from being removed

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