Wardens brought in to manage ‘Banksy traffic’ in Port Talbot

Traffic wardens have been brought in to manage crowds which continue to descend on the site of Banksy’s latest artwork in a suburban backstreet.

The quiet alley in Taibach, Port Talbot, Wales, has been filling with art fans since the famous artist’s mural appeared on the side of a car garage on Tuesday morning, leading to concerns about the sudden increase in traffic for residents.

Neath Port Talbot Council said it will now be placing two members of staff at the site of Banksy’s latest work to help manage the large number of vehicles which are parking and filling the side street.

A council spokesman said: “This will be a temporary measure over the Christmas and New Year holiday period because we believe, due to worldwide publicity, this area of Port Talbot is going to attract a large number of visitors.

Port Talbot street art
Port Talbot street art

“We understand the excitement but we want to remind visitors this is a residential area and would ask that people coming to photograph or view the Banksy to do their best not disturb those living nearby.

“We would also ask that motorists do not park in the narrow lane where the artwork is located but find a safe and appropriate place to park elsewhere and then walk.”

The council also said it wants to use the world-famous artist’s work to strengthen its bid for a new National Gallery of Modern Welsh Art.

The Welsh Government is funding a feasibility study for a possible new national gallery which is expected to focus on 20th and 21st-century Welsh art.

Port Talbot street art
Port Talbot street art

The leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Councillor Rob Jones, said: “At least one world-class contemporary artist appears to view the interesting mix of peaceful hillsides alongside striking urban and industrial landscapes as a piece of art in itself.

“There are many interpretations of this work and the only person who truly knows its meaning is the artist.

“If it is taken as a symbol of pollution and air quality issues – we, like other authorities – are working hard with the Welsh Government to counter and monitor pollution.

“I hope the excitement over the sudden appearance of this piece of contemporary art in Port Talbot which has put the town – and Taibach – in headlines, on the web and on TV and radio right across the world may now give us an edge when it comes to hosting a new national gallery of modern art here.”

Banksy claimed responsibility for the new artwork on his website and Instagram account on Wednesday after it appeared on the side of steelworker Ian Lewis’s garage on Tuesday morning.

The work is Banksy’s first in Wales and is believed to be a comment on the town’s industrial heritage and pollution linked to its famous steel plant.

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council erected metal fencing around the garage wall on Wednesday, and was consulting other councils who have experience of dealing with Banksy artworks.