A mural by artist Vincent Fantauzzo was removed from Strachan Lane this morning by Melbourne City Council workers, due to an alleged “safety risk”.

At approximately 8am Fantauzzo confronted the cleaning crew removing the work that had taken him two weeks to complete – a warped chequerboard extending the length of the laneway, which runs behind Fantauzzo’s Collins Street restaurant Harley House. The restaurant is set to foot the bill for the removal of the work.

Speaking to the Age, the four-time Archibald People’s Choice Award winner claimed he had been given no warning from the council.

“I'm just devastated, actually. No one until this point has contacted me personally or given me any indication of it being painted over," Fantauzzo said.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle told 3AW Fantauzzo had previously been given two weeks’ notice to remove the mural. Melbourne City Council regulations forbid the unauthorised painting of roads to prevent slipping hazards for pedestrians and vehicles. In an effort to meet safety standards, the artist and a team of friends re-painted the artwork with non-slip paint.

Doyle has previously lamented the loss of quality street art in the CBD and his admiration for pavement art in other major cities.

“There is world famous New York [chalk] artist and he draws 3D images, and if he draws a staircase that’s going down people walk around it because they think they’re going to fall,” he said in 2016.