THERE was no link between the decision to go ahead with demolition of the Chartist Mural and the protest against it on Saturday.

That’s according to Newport council which yesterday answered five remaining questions put to the authority by the Argus last Friday.

But it remains unclear who precisely took the decision, while the council has declined to release a consultant’s report into the possibility of moving the artwork.

Meanwhile, a communications officer for the Save Our Mural group, who is known by his artist name as Zennis, said the group has been told informally by a source that the remains of the mural are “safe”.

“We’re glad to hear it. It was our worst fear that they would be dumped in a landfill,” he said.

The group intends to use the remains to create a memorial to the mural, but Zennis said they were waiting confirmation from senior council officers about the matter.

He added that the group was compiling a list of questions it wanted answers to, and was also considering but had yet to decide whether it would make a complaint to the public service ombudsman.

Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, said on his blog that “a serious job has to be done to rebuild trust between the people of Newport and its council.”

He called for the authority to “answer fully questions posed by the South Wales Argus”.

He said: “A basic claim was cost of removal because it was claimed that mural was fixed to wall. Clearly it was not and the claimed costs of removal are not credible. Frank answers are essential and urgently needed.”

The authority had said the mural was integrally linked to the car park.

Yesterday a fake entry on the internet auction site eBay, apparently selling the Chartist Mural, attracted £153,800.00 worth of “bids”.

There was an outcry last Thursday when the council employees began demolishing the mural with no prior warning.

A decision to demolish the mural and the area for Friars Walk was taken in March 2012 through planning, when the council was run by a Tory/Lib Dem administration.

An attempt by the 20th Century Society to get Cadw to list it failed, and the council said it would not be possible to preserve the mural in its current state.

Mann Williams Consultants had said it could cost £600,000 to move the artwork but there were real risks that the mural would not survive such a move, according to a previous council statement.

The authority is planning to consult on a new memorial to the Chartists for the city.

Argus mural questions

NEWPORT council yesterday answered five questions that remained from the ten we put to them on Friday. We present them here with the questions and their answers.

Argus: Was there a link between the date of the demolition and the protest on Saturday?

Council: No.

Argus: Has the demolition contract to prepare for Friars Walk been awarded?

Council: No.

Argus: Can we see the report that priced moving the mural at £600,000 but warned moving the artwork will damage it?

Council: No – it is the intellectual property of the consultants.

Argus: Were cabinet members informed of the demolition work taking place last Thursday?

Council: All councillors have been informed of the timetable for the major demolition works. The works that started last week are part of the preparation works ready for the main contract.

Argus: Who took the decision to go ahead with demolition last Thursday?

Council: The council took the decision.