Shoreditch gallery ‘devastated’ after being told to remove ‘iconic’ rooftop sign

The rooftop sign above the gallery. Photograph: Jealous Gallery

Internationally acclaimed artist David Shrigley has given his support to a Shoreditch gallery battling to keep its “iconic” rooftop sign.

Jealous Gallery in Shoreditch put its name in huge letters on the roof of its Curtain Road site nearly a decade ago.

But Hackney Council has said the advertisement has now got to go.

The planning department said it is unlikely to give retrospective permission for the sign, located in the South Shoreditch conservation area.

It told the gallery to either apply for that permission or remove all traces of the lettering, warning that it could take enforcement action to have it removed.

Art collective Miss Bugs is also backing Jealous’s campaign.

The gallery’s manager Rachel Buffey said: “It’s a really iconic sign. We have people coming from Germany and America to photograph it. It’s featured in a shot of the Shoreditch skyline in the comedy TV programme Catastrophe.”

She said the gallery was “devastated” to be told the sign has to go.

“Ithas stood as a symbol of the company and has been a landmark in Shoreditch for almost a decade. Not only do we love our sign, but businesses and passersby have also shared their love for it and have expressed that they want it to be a key feature in the local area for years to come.”

She said: “We hope the petition will generate more support.”

The sign was created in-house by Jealous Inc artists and acts as a foreground to a rooftop mural that changes every six weeks.

Ben Eine is among the artists whose work has featured there.

So far, nearly 1,000 people have signed the gallery’s petition on 38 Degrees.

Stuart C was amongst them and said: “Ridiculous knee-jerk demand – it’s part of the Shoreditch furniture. Read the room!”

In its letter to the gallery in response to it asking for pre-application advice, the council’s planning team said a sign at shop level is acceptable but the roof sign “is not and should be removed”.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council takes its responsibility seriously in protecting the heritage and character of our borough’s conservation areas.”

It had a complaint about the advert this year.

The spokeswoman added: “It is illegal to display advertisements without having necessary permissions and we are obligated to investigate these complaints. Our investigation concluded that the advert had been placed without the required advertising permission.

“We have contacted the owners requesting that they either remove the advert or apply for advertising consent and have given them time to do this.

“We want to maintain the balance between new developments and preservation, and remain committed to working together with property owners, residents and businesses to get it right.”