Fresh fears have been raised in Glasgow that businesses are continuing to ‘exploit’ a loophole to create huge mural adverts on gable ends in the city without receiving prior permission from the city council to do so.  

It comes following the appearance of another huge hand-painted advertisement on the gable end of a listed tenement building in the Dennistoun area of the city.

The mural, depicting a large goldfish, was produced by London-based advertising agency House 337 for banking brand The Current Account Switch Service as part of a UK-wide advertising campaign that also saw street art murals appear in London, Manchester and Leeds.

The artwork is now in the process of being painted over - less than a month after it first appeared on the gable end on Duke Street on January 18.

READ MORE: Glasgow’s mural landscape ‘at risk’ from commercialisation

The Herald understands that a Glasgow-based scaffolding firm was hired last month to allow for the mural to be painted on the gable end, before the firm was hired again this week to allow for the mural to be painted over black.  

It represents the second time in less than two years that a commercial mural has appeared on the same gable end on Duke Street before being painted over weeks later, following the appearance - and subsequent disappearance - of a mural commissioned by shoe retailer Clarks to advertise its desert boots in October of 2022.

Meanwhile, in May last year, another huge mural, commissioned by RBS, appeared on the side of Victor Paris showroom off the Broomielaw before disappearing weeks later, sparking concern that Glasgow’s rich gable end mural landscape could be at risk from 'creeping commercialisation'.

Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney was among those to call for an end to the practice of “giving carte blanche to commercial entities to use Glasgow buildings for whatever they see fit”. 

The Herald: The Current Account Switch Service mural on Duke Street being greywashed over on Wednesday.The Current Account Switch Service mural on Duke Street being greywashed over on Wednesday. (Image: Gordon Terris)

Described as a “creative take on outdoor advertising”, most mural advertising involves large-scale eye-catching paintings that are manually applied to city walls by street artists who are hired to design and hand paint the mural onto a building.

Big brands often favour murals to advertise their products as there are very few rules and regulations when it comes to where and when the adverts can be placed. 

Glasgow City Council confirmed that no planning application was received in relation to the mural, despite the fact that an application for planning consent for an ‘application of colour’ would have been required - in addition to advertising consent - given that the mural was painted on a listed building. 

READ MORE: Controversial commercial mural painted over

The Herald understands that to avoid seeking advertising consent and/or planning permission from Glasgow City Council, businesses are commissioning temporary commercial murals with a lifespan of less than four weeks to effectively ‘exploit’ the “28 day rule” for using land or buildings for an “alternative use” contained within planning regulations for the temporary use of land in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order. The provision is often used by event organisers for events such as local fairs and effectively allows for a site be used without formal planning permission. 

Ivan McKee, MSP for Glasgow Provan, suggested that a permanent mural be commissioned for the gable end in Dennistoun to stop it being used by commercial enterprises for advertising. 

He told The Herald: “We all want to see high quality street art brightening up the city, but commercial businesses should not be able to use loopholes to bypass regulations and avoid engagement with the local community. 

The Herald: A Clarks commercial mural appeared on the same gable end in October 2022A Clarks commercial mural appeared on the same gable end in October 2022 (Image: Newsquest)

“I would support a community led project to deliver a permanent mural on this highly visible site on Duke Street.”

Councillor Allan Casey, who represents the Dennistoun ward, echoed the MSP’s call, adding: “While it is nice to see this gable end brighten up an important gateway into Dennistoun it is disappointing that yet again another commercial organisation are exploiting a loophole to avoid planning and advertising consent and not involving the local community. 

“Glasgow has a vibrant and diverse range of murals across the city which help create splashes of colour which brighten up our lanes and streets. 

“To avoid this commercial exploitation happening in this location again it is my hope that there could be a proper community led project to investigate if there can be a longer term community mural which would bring some much needed public street art into Dennistoun and could have the potential to link up with Glasgow’s successful City Centre Mural Trail.”

The Herald contacted The Current Account Switch Service for comment.