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Islington artist with paintings sold to Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey struggles to reach east London studio after parking bay vandalism

PUBLISHED: 09:30 13 July 2018

Artist Melita Denaro cannot park her specialist van outside her studio due to a defaced disabled parking sign. Picture: Ken Mears

Artist Melita Denaro cannot park her specialist van outside her studio due to a defaced disabled parking sign. Picture: Ken Mears

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An acclaimed Islington artist with Multiple Sclerosis has been forced to fight a long-running battle with Tower Hamlets Council to park outside her east London studio.

Artist Melita Denaro cannot park her specialist van outside her studio due to a defaced disabled parking sign. Melita working in her studio with assistant Niamh Roberts.Artist Melita Denaro cannot park her specialist van outside her studio due to a defaced disabled parking sign. Melita working in her studio with assistant Niamh Roberts.

Melita Denaro’s landscapes fetch hefty price tags and hang in the homes of famous figures including Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.

Diagnosed with MS two decades ago, The 68-year-old now uses a wheelchair and keeps to a busy schedule with the help of her support team.

This does not come cheap.

The painter, who has lived in Mildmay for 14 years, pays £1,000 a week to her helpers and drives in an adapted Volkswagen van to her space at Bridget Riley Studios, Bow.

Artist Melita Denaro cannot park her specialist van outside her studio due to a defaced disabled parking sign.Artist Melita Denaro cannot park her specialist van outside her studio due to a defaced disabled parking sign.

Spray paint covers the nearby disabled parking bay signs and, with the bay’s road markings and lettering in need of repainting, Melita says she is unable to reach the studio.

Asked how important the bay was to her livelihood, Melita told the Gazette: “Completely — I can’t get to work if I can’t use them.

“They say: ‘Oh, you can park on any lines with your disabled badge’ but if I park on any lines and somebody parks right at the back of me I can’t get the platform down.

“I reverse [the wheelchair] onto a platform and it lowers me onto the ground.”

Cars and vans with no blue badges displayed, she added, often park in the space, leaving her little room to get out.

“It’s been very distressing,” she said, describing constant calls to Tower Hamlets Council over the defaced signs.

“It’s also cost me money because I have to get my studio assistants to run around and try and find a parking bay, and tell people not to park.”

Melita, who was raised in County Donegal, hopes the matter is solved in time for her “big show” next year in New York, London and Dublin.

After the Gazette got in touch, a council spokeswoman said officers have contacted Melita about the “ongoing” issue and promised to replace the vandalised signs.

Staff had replaced signage on the road six times before, she added.


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