Bid to move landmark Hatfield mural lodged

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 October 2013

Builder Barratt Homes is trying to relocate William Mitchell's mural

Builder Barratt Homes is trying to relocate William Mitchell's mural

Archant

A company redeveloping a former office block in Hatfield is hoping to relocate a huge wall sculpture – once thought to have been the biggest single cast piece of concrete in the world.

Barratt Homes is demolishing the former Three Valleys Water headquarters in Bishops Rise to make way for homes.

About 40 homes have already been occupied on the site, but work is proceeding on the construction of more than 100 flats.

Although Welwyn Hatfield Council has given outline planning permission, Barratt Homes cannot proceed without overcoming a serious obstacle – the giant mural that decorated an internal wall of the reception.

When the mural was installed in the early 1960s, it may have been the largest single cast piece of concrete in the world.

It was sculpted by William Mitchell, who has been described as “the doyen of British muralists”.

The sculptor, now 88, decorated many public buildings in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly with abstract designs.

For years his work was neglected, but now many of his creations are protected as listed structures, including the Bishops Rise mural, which is about 18 feet high.

Barratt Homes has come up with a scheme to incorporate the mural into one of its new residential buildings, but needs the blessing of the borough council planning department.

Its planning application will be decided by officers under delegated powers, subject to a public consultation ending on October 18.

Brendon O’Neill, managing director of Barratt Homes North London, said: “We are honoured to have the opportunity to incorporate such a significant piece of history into our new development at De Havilland Place.

“We are now awaiting a decision by Welwyn Hatfield Council as to whether we can relocate the mural into a small block of five residential apartments.

“By incorporating the mural into a substantial structure like the apartment block, it will ensure the mural is in situ for residents’ enjoyment for the long term.”


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