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Acclaimed artist with paintings sold to Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey can’t access Bow studio due to vandalised disabled parking bay

PUBLISHED: 16:12 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 12 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

Archant

An acclaimed artist with Multiple Sclerosis has been forced to fight a long-running battle with the council to park outside her Bow studio.

Melita (left) working in her studio with assistant Niamh Roberts. Picture: Ken Mears Melita (left) working in her studio with assistant Niamh Roberts. Picture: Ken Mears

Melita Denaro’s lush 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 pays £1,000 a week to her helpers and drives in an adapted Volkswagen van to her space at Bridget Riley Studios, Dace Road.

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.

The defaced disabled parking sign in Dace Road, Bow. Picture: Ken Mears The defaced disabled parking sign in Dace Road, Bow. Picture: Ken Mears

Asked how important the bay was to her livelihood, Melita told the Advertiser: “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 and divides her time between northwestern Ireland’s sweeping seas and Islington, hopes the matter is solved in time for her “big show” next year in New York, London and Dublin.

After the Advertiser got in touch, a council spokeswoman said officers have contacted Melita about the “ongoing” issue.

“Council officers have visited the site and replaced defaced signage on more than six occasions,” she added.

Staff, the spokeswoman said, visited the site earlier today and will replace the vandalised signs “this afternoon” and the bent signpost “within the next 24 hours”.

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