THESE brightly coloured walls have become a tourist attraction since they were first painted on the walls of a Brighton street.

But this giant art gallery could soon be lost as Brighton and Hove City Council’s plan to build housing gathers pace.

The plans have saddened graffiti artists and residents who said their disappearance behind newbuild flats and homes would be a huge loss to the city.

The site in Kensington Street in Brighton has hosted depictions of James Brown, Run DMC and Aung San Suu Kyi after the local authority allowed graffiti art to brighten up an area of the city which had become run down and derelict.

But all that could soon disappear as part of the council’s programme to create more affordable housing to the city.

Plans to develop the site are reaching a key phase, with discussions set for today’s policy and resources committee meeting.

The council is considering one of four development proposals for the site, ranging from 12 flats at affordable rent, six flats and six separate homes, ten flats and one separate home and ten flats with differing numbers of affordable and market rent properties.

The project would require a subsidy from the council’s housing revenue account of between £66,700 and £570,000.

The proposals concede the existing graffiti in Kensington Street will be covered but the council said other temporary graffiti canvases are being identified, including one in use in Elder Place.

Martin Middleton, aka Cassette Lord, whose work adorns many junction boxes around the city, said: “It’s a well-known site and probably one of the oldest freestyle art sites in Brighton.

“With the loss of a site like that, it’s likely to push street artists further out and could even lead to more illegal graffiti, which will be a cost to the taxpayer to remove.

“It brings tourists and visitors into the city to come and photograph it – it is constantly photographed.

“It’s testament to the council’s attitude towards the creativity and puts us on the map as something different along the South Coast.”