The mayor of a Suffolk town where Banksy painted a now-removed artwork during his 'Great British Spraycation' has said she would like to see it return to its hometown in the future. 

The Sandcastle Girl was sprayed onto the side of the former Lowestoft Electrical shop by the world-renowned street artist in 2021, and building owners removed it from the wall by November and sold it to a private buyer. 

The art is currently on display in West Suffolk Council-owned Moyse's Hall, Bury St Edmunds, as part of the Urban Frame: Mutiny in Colour exhibition which includes artwork from various contemporary artists including Grayson Perry, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Sonia Barker, town mayorCllr Sonia Barker, town mayor (Image: Newquest)

Cllr Sonia Barker, mayor of Lowestoft, said "I am sad that the original Banksy has not stayed in Lowestoft however, I understand that the Banksy was painted on private property and it was therefore the owners right to do what they wish with their property. 

"It is great however that this public piece of art is being displayed in public and it would be great to have the artwork exhibited in Lowestoft at some point in the future." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Banksy's Sandcastle Girl on the wall in LowestoftBanksy's Sandcastle Girl on the wall in Lowestoft (Image: Mick Howes)

This comes after Woodbridge artist SOPHIE condemned the fee in place to visit the exhibition which includes the Sandcastle Girl, and said she believes it should be free. 

She said: "I think the important highlight is the council who are charging when they also threaten the law to graffiti artists.

"I am sure he [Banksy] is chuckling to himself that a council that would've had graffiti artists arrested are now charging for people to see his work."

East Anglian Daily Times: SOPHIE, who condemned the fee to see the exhibitionSOPHIE, who condemned the fee to see the exhibition (Image: SOPHIE)

Large costs are associated with putting on such an exhibition, including the transport, security and insurance of the art which, in some cases, requires specialist handling. 

Cllr Ian Shipp said: "Unfortunately public finances are such that councils do not get additional money for keeping important venues such as Moyse’s Hall and Council Tax only covers 20% of the cost of services.

"Making this free would probably have meant it could not happen at all and would mean even less money to run current and new exhibitions."