A VILLAGER facing court action over his controversial mural has thanked the people who have expressed their support.

Peter Churcher is being prosecuted by West Devon Borough Council after some villagers campaigned to force him to remove a mural he painted on the outside of his Bere Alston home on Fore Street, claiming it is detrimental to the appearance of the area.

Peter, said: ‘I would like to thank all my supporters, in particular those who wrote to West Devon Council to say they liked the mural and it should remain.

‘It’s important to stand up for our culture and its development and not to be afraid of something new when it appears.

‘West Devon Council represents a small group of rather reactionary people who don’t understand art and the changing world in which we live. We no longer live in the 1950s

‘There are big challenges ahead, such as climate change, and we will all need to adapt to these. Fresh ideas and fresh art are both needed and Bere Alston needs to move with the times and be more creative.’

His mural is on the side of his home, down an alleyway just off the main street. His home includes a now closed-down bookshop he used to run. Peter has submitted some testimonials, as evidence supporting his mural, to the council for a court hearing later this summer.

One supporter, Oliver, said: ‘As a resident, I believe the mural is a unique addition to our community. It is an example of public art and enhances the village’s character, local children have been overheard thinking the rabbit lives in the bookshop. I am concerned that the council’s decision to paint over the mural would be detrimental to the village and private property.’

Another worker on Fore Street said: ‘I know Peter is an artist and this is an expression of his art. No one can question the significance of art, and artists should be appreciated as they put their heart and soul in the work they do. I personally have no objection to it being there. It is not affecting me socially and commercially in any way.’

A village shop worker said: ‘The mural is not offensive and does not make me or anyone I know feel upset or shocked. I believe that this mural means a lot to the owner. This adds to the village and makes it different than others.’

The council is prosecuting Peter under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. A magistrates’ court will decide if he has to remove the ‘graffiti-style art’. Peter has previously been told by the council the mural is an advert because it has a pink Duracell battery type of bunny character. He says it is a form of Pop Art along the lines of Andy Warhol.