Thousands sign petition to save Yorkshire Dales mural on listed building in Richmond

A local artist was commissioned to create the mural on the side of York House Antiques Credit: Save the mural, Richmond North Yorkshire

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling for the owners of a listed building in Richmond to be allowed to keep a "charming" but unauthorised mural depicting a scene in the Yorkshire Dales.

Councillors will this week decide whether the painting, which features a sheepdog looking over a dry stone wall alongside six sheep, damages the appearance of the 18th Century building on the Frenchgate corner of Richmond's Market Place.

The mural on the side of the York House Antiques shop was created more than two years ago by a local artist to help advertise the business.

In retrospective planning application papers lodged with Richmondshire District Council, agents for the antiques business state the impact of the 5m by 1.5m mural on the listed property is "minimal".

The agents added: "The retail environment is highly competitive and there is significant pressure on the high street through changing consumer habits and the ease of online shopping. We therefore believe it is important that retailers can advertise their space effectively to encourage shoppers whilst still being respectful of the heritage and importance of the property."

The Original Richmond Tourism Association said 58 out of 63 of its members were in favour of keeping the artwork and the majority of responses to the retrospective plans are positive.

One resident wrote the mural was "a fantastic bit of fun countryside art", that was completely in keeping with the area as it "catches your eye and makes you smile".

Another resident wrote: "This artwork makes a gorgeous addition to Richmond and is a great advertisement for not only the lovely shop, but also Richmond itself. Creating a positive atmosphere from the moment locals and tourists alike enter the town square."

But the Richmond Civic Society has objected to the artwork, saying it should not have been undertaken without planning permission.

A society spokesman said granting consent "at this stage would be to create an alarming precedent for other property owners to produce quasi-public art that could deface the town".

Calling for the mural wall to be "colour washed in an appropriate product", the objection added: "Furthermore, the applicant claims that the mural is a commercial advert, but there is no evidence of this: the mural is simply pictorial and makes no reference to the shop.

"As to the subject matter of the mural, we feel that it has some relevance to the Dales villages but virtually no relevance to the town of Richmond, its history or its architecture. Since it is located in a prominent position, at the entrance to the Market Place, this issue of relevance is an important consideration."

Council planning officers are recommending the mural is removed, saying while there is public support and affection for it, it was harmful to the listed building and the historic character of Richmond.