A MURAL in a car park in a seaside town has been partially hidden by a pay and display machine erected by a national park authority.

Solva-based Cuban artist Raul Speek said he had had painted the mural as a gift to the Pembrokeshire community and to make "the gloomy car park a brighter and happier place.”

But he's now been left shocked and disappointed to find officials from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority have placed a bold blue five foot tall pay and display machine in front of the mural and, to further obstruct the view, a giant board with payment instructions.

The billingual instructions only cover just less than half of the board, at around waist height, with the upper portion including a giant photograph of the village to further frustrate anyone wishing to admire Raul's work.

“I painted this mural for Solva because it’s my home, it’s the place I love and it’s my way of giving them something back,” Raul said.

“But I’m feeling very sad and very disappointed that the national park has chosen to put the stuff directly in front of it. And why have they put a photograph of Solva in Solva?

"It’s like an act of vandalism.”

The mural has been painted onto the pine end of a privately owned building after the owner gave Raul permission to paint it. His design depicts a woman’s face painted in Speek’s customary bright colours and strong imagery.

“I bought the materials, I bought the spray paints and I used my own time to create this image and donate it to the community," he said.

BBC Weather presenter Derek Brockway, who presents the Weahterman Walking television show, also helped with the painting.

"Some of my students helped me and even the weatherman walking, Derek Brockway, gave me a hand when he filmed it for his television show.

"Our only aim was to make the gloomy car park a brighter and happier place.”

Raul Speek's gift to his town has been partially hiddn by street furnitureDerek Brockway helped Raul create the mural

Raul said he has spoken at length to national park officials but isn’t hopeful that the problem will be resolved.

“I’ve spent two hours speaking to them but it doesn't look as if they are going to do anything. This is making me look bad but it’s making the national park look bad too.”

A spokesperson from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said it had all the necessary paperwork in place for erecting the machine and signage.

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They said: “We have held a couple of discussions and explained our position with regard to the mural. The authority doesn’t own the wall that the mural has been painted onto and our Pay and Display machine and sign was installed in accordance with a pre-existing planning consent.”

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