The owner of the Port Talbot Banksy has abandoned plans to create a street art museum in the town.
Earlier this month, Season’s Greetings was re-located from the Taibach garage wall where it first appeared days before Christmas to a building in Port Talbot town centre.
The piece of street art was bought by art dealer John Brandler in January for an unspecified six-figure sum with the intention of loaning the artwork to the town for two years.
Since buying the piece, the Banksy expert said he had plans to create a street art museum in the Banksy’s new home, Ty’r Orsaf, on the site of the former police station at the bottom of Station Road.
However, blaming ongoing issues with the council, Mr Brandler has now decided to scrap the plans for the museum, which it had been promised would feature the work of other renowned artists and was hoped to bring thousands of people to the town.
Neath Port Talbot Council has said it had been doing its best to bring the museum to fruition.
Mr Brandler said the council changed the contract at a late stage, adding originally that it was originally going to have the three downstairs units, but that it had now been shrunk to just one unit, the one the Port Talbot Banksy is in.
“The whole thing just seems very strange,” he continued. “We were going to have the whole downstairs area and now it has been shrunk and shuttered.
“I came to Wales to say here is an opportunity for you.
“I think it is terribly sad that the people in control of Port Talbot are not interested in making an international museum.”
Mr Brandler said he wasn’t happy the piece was being kept behind shutters at certain points of the day and that there was nothing to tell people walking past that is where the Banksy is, or when the piece of street art can be seen.
He also claimed he hadn’t been given right of entry to the building either because the council were the leaseholders.
Mr Brandler continued: “How can I put 25 or 30 pieces of art in a building I am not allowed in?
“I am now going to concentrate on my own business, rather than fighting people that do not want to work with me.
“The whole thing has been a disaster from day one.”
Mr Brandler said he would honour his word and keep the Banksy in Wales for a couple of years, but said he felt no one in Wales had honoured their word.
“The museum is not going to happen because I cannot trust them anymore,” he continued. “I cannot bring anything else, there is nowhere for me to put it.
“I am so disappointed for the people of Port Talbot – it would have been great for the whole of south Wales.”
Neath Port Talbot council said that the Banksy was visible between the hours of 8am to 8pm each day, when the shutters are open.
A spokesman said: “The artwork has been in place for a fortnight and we will be looking at signage arrangements shortly.
“The artwork can currently be accommodated in a single unit and we have not had a definitive list of exhibits which would assist further planning.”
The spokesman said the council had not at any point given any indication to Mr Brandler that he would be refused entry to the unit for access to his artwork.
He added: “We will do our best to bring this to fruition.”
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