Leamington bar is campaigning to ‘save’ Batman in planning dispute

Owner Kevin Murphy is campaigning to keep the Batman statue up above the front window of the bar and to keep a number of other alterations he has made to the front of the building. NNL-170419-085313009

Owner Kevin Murphy is campaigning to keep the Batman statue up above the front window of the bar and to keep a number of other alterations he has made to the front of the building. NNL-170419-085313009

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Batman is the hero Leamington deserves says a bar owner but he is not what it needs right now according to council regulations.

Kevin Murphy, of Murphy’s Bar, has been asked by Warwick District Council to take down the statue of the Caped Crusader, which stands above the front window of the pub in Regent Street.

The council is also requesting that other additions are removed from the front of the Grade II listed building including a large Guiness poster, the large black lettering painted on the front elevation and five flag pole holders.

But Mr Murphy has set up a petition to ‘save Batman’ - which has already gained more than 700 signatures - and says he is also making a stand to help other neighbouring businesses keep alterations to their frontages as well.

He said: “Each premises to me looks far better than a place that is closed. The council should tun a blind eye and let us flourish so that we can employ local people and pay our business rates which have increased by 20 per cent for all of this year.

“On Saturday I’m going to be dressed as Batman and my four-year-old grandson will be dressed as Robin and we will be stood outside the bar, campaigning, to stand up to them.

“We want lots of publicity, for the council to say ‘OK, we have made the wrong decision’ or maybe allow us to apply for retrospective permission and relax their planning laws a little.

“I can see their point of view but it doesn’t work, that’s why we have 14 or 15 shops empty.”

A council spokesman said: “Alterations and additions to Grade II listed buildings before receiving permission is unlawful and we work closely with businesses in our town centre to avoid having to take any formal action.

“It is unfortunate that ‘Batman’ has been installed on the building together with other works carried out, and we are in conversation with the owner to seek its removal as soon as possible so that we retain the character and appearance of this attractive area.

“It is perhaps not the most appropriate location for a super hero.”

To view the petition online search for Keep Batman at Murphy’s Bar at www.change.org