THE iconic mural ceiling at the Barge Inn at Honeystreet, which regulars say brings people from across the globe, will remain untouched, after the landlord decided against painting over it.

After a handful of regulars were told by new owner Pietro Cuomo that he thought the ceiling was ugly, hundreds rallied together to support and preserve artist Vincent Palmer's piece, which was painted on the day Princess Diana died in August 1997.

A petition was started by Honeystreet resident Adam Pope and a mural appreciation and preservation Facebook group was formed by Mr Palmer, with the former attracting 500 signatures and the latter attracting 700 members.

In light of this, Mr Cuomo has said he has no plans at the moment to paint over the mural.

"If he means what he says then that is wonderful news. I have been blown away by the feedback. People have said the mural brings people from across the globe together and it was all part of the campsite and crop circle experience," said Mr Palmer, who used to live in East Kennett but now lives in Birmingham.

"It would have been awful if it did get painted over so I am glad that, for the moment, that will not be the case. Someone said that we could put Mr and Mrs Cuomo on the mural, or something that is very dear to them, and I would be thrilled to do that. We want to work with them not against them.

"I understand that when a pub changes hands people want to do their own thing with it but this meant a lot to the community and I strongly believe it should be protected for future generations. I am very pleased at this news."

Ever since the Italian couple bought the pub near Pewsey, which is run by them through Let it Barge Ltd, from Ian McIvor in March, they have been at odds with the community after they decided to close the popular campsite. When news spread that the mural may be painted over too, Mr Pope and many others were very concerned.

"If we lost this wonderful piece of art that brings the community together it would have been hugely disappointing so I am thrilled that we have achieved this victory for the community," said the 33-year-old.

"If you look at how many responded, it just shows you how much this means to people. I am so glad that for the time being it will remain untouched."

Mr Pietro, who is living at the pub's barn with his wife and two children, said he had no plans to paint over the mural but refused to comment further.