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Fish and chip shop owner stands firm in Union flag mural row after Telegraph coverage

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A fish and chip shop owner at the centre of a row over a Union flag mural says he will no longer back down to the council because he has received so much support since his story was published in The Telegraph.

Chris Kanizi had initially agreed to paint over the design outside the Golden Chippy, in Greenwich, south-east London, after council officials allegedly told him it was inappropriate for the area.

But the 65-year-old has since changed his mind because of the support he has received since The Telegraph broke the story.

“I’m so encouraged with the support I’m getting,” he told The Telegraph. “There have been people ringing up, saying ‘start a petition’ and ‘have a protest’.”

Painted a month ago, at a cost of £250, the mural shows the flag held by a humanoid fish and a slogan saying “A Great British Meal”.

But the artwork has fallen foul of planning chiefs at Greenwich council, who called it an “unauthorised advert” and ordered its removal.

‘We’ll fight them to the end’

Mr Kanizi said he is now liaising with lawyers and retired planning officers as he prepares to contest the council’s decision.

“I’m going to fight it,” he said. “I’ve got retired planning officers giving me advice and solicitors saying they will take on my case for free.

“We’ll fight them to the end.”

Mr Kanizi, who arrived in the UK in 1977 from northern Cyprus, has run the Golden Chippy for 20 years and lives two doors down. The shop was deemed London’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor in 2016.

He has not yet been served a formal planning enforcement notice by the council, which would require the mural’s removal in a specified time.

But Mr Kanizi said he would appeal any future notice, which could see a final decision made by a government planning inspectorate.

A Greenwich council spokesman said: “Following a number of complaints made to local ward councillors, an enforcement case was raised about the mural in question.

“Our Planning Enforcement team is investigating this as it is effectively an unauthorised advert for the chip shop. The owner has agreed to paint over it.

“We will always try to negotiate with the owner before proceeding to a formal planning enforcement notice.”

In 2016, the council ordered Mr Kanizi to remove a much larger sign – about 17 feet high – featuring a very similar design, from above the door.

‘Adds a bit of spice’

Local residents told The Telegraph they wanted the latest artwork to stay.

“It’s a bit different and adds a bit of spice,” said Miranda Stinton, 27. “You can’t go wrong with a bit of street art.”

Danny Cahill, 41, added: “It’s not offensive and everyone else is always flying those Palestinian flags.”

A similar planning battle was recently fought in Shropshire when taxi driver John Brockhurst was banned from flying the English and British flags on his cab.

Mr Brockhurst had the ruling overturned after contacting his MP, and he said Mr Kanizi should do the same.

“He should fight it,” he told The Telegraph.

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