A row has erupted over the apparent "defacing" of a wall belonging to the Royal British Legion (RBL).

Last week artist, Stephen Mackie, started work on a huge mural on the side of the Royal British Legion building in St Mark’s Road, Mitcham.

The mural, inspired by the area's most iconic buildings, has been painted to brighten up Mitcham as part of the £6.2m Rediscover Mitcham project to regenerate the centre in partnership with One Mitcham and Studio Weave.

Its sudden appearance on the building came as a shock to members of Mitcham’s RBL, who say they never gave permission for the group to "deface" their wall and are now demanding it is removed.

Alan Barley, chairman of the Mitcham Royal British Legion, said: "The first our members knew about this was the picture and article on a local website celebrating its achievement.

"We gave no permission for this work to go ahead.

"There was no prior consultation of our committee so we had no opportunity to view drafts and approve the artwork and give permission if we wanted to.

"We feel that the design does not promote the wide multicultural aims of the British Legion in Mitcham, nor does it reflect local buildings or landscapes, which we thought was the point of such work and would have expected to see more options if this were to go ahead properly.

"We want the building's walls fully restored to their original state before the artwork was done."

Instead the Poppy Club, who lease the building from the Royal British Legion, gave permission, but do not own it.

Studio Weave is arguing the permission was granted by leaseholder Ian Halliday of the Poppy Club, only after discussions were held with Mr Barley.

Mr Halliday said: "It both brightens the community area and highlights the ongoing work of the RBL and the local charity work of the Poppy Club itself."

Mr Barley denies dealing with the Poppy Club.

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