As the richest artist in the world, Damien Hirst isn’t afraid of a little controversy when it comes to his creative endeavours. However, he recently came up against a host of angry residents in the seaside resort of Ilfracombe in Devon when he bought three shops in prime locations and left them empty. Accused of killing off trade in the town, Hirst has been called in to either sell the properties or put them to good use.
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Landlord of The Hip & Pistol pub and Restaurant, Nick Waters, said: “These shops are in the busiest part of town, yet they’ve been shut for years. I don’t understand how someone so famous and rich can just leave them there doing nothing. Waters added: “There are so many businesses who would snap them up. Properties on the Quay are at a premium. These just look like an eyesore” Hirst loaned one of his pieces of work, Verity, the largest statue in the UK, to the town which attracts the attention of tourists. As well as this, he owns a restaurant on the quayside which sits alongside the empty properties in question, one of which was a gallery selling his work up until September 2017.