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Want to Paint the Town Red? : You May Need Planning Permission!

View profile for Paul Hajek
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The town of lago painted red

When Clint Eastwood ordered the town of Lago to be painted red in the film High Plains Drifter, no one argued.

Back here in the real world, Planning Permission is not normally a requirement if you choose similarly to paint your house if not the town red.

With one exception: listed buildings.

If you live in a listed building, Grade II as well as Grade I and want to the change the colour not even the house but merely front door; you will need planning permission

This, some may say, bureaucratic intrusion, into the basic tenet that an English man’s home is his castle, and he can do what he likes, is unwelcome.

So thought a Ms New, a pensioner from South Somerset, who was served with an enforcement notice requiring her to repaint the front door of her Grade II Listed Building to its original shade of yellow, in place of her new favoured choice of light blue.

When Ms New, who had been blissfully unaware of any planning restrictions, found out she tried to have the paint job retrospectively approved.

But to no avail: the planning inspector went so far as to say that the change of colour had caused “considerable detriment to the property”

2 years of legal wrangling ensued where Ms New challenged the decision on two more occasions.

South Somerset District Council did try a compromise, but Ms New did not like the alternative colours which were suggested.

It strikes me that the Council were trying to be flexible.

With no compromise in sight, Ms New ended up at the local Magistrate’s Court where she admitted the breach.

Ms New received a 12 month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £50 in costs.

Some or most of you will be please to learn that she has agreed to reinstate the front door to its former yellow shade of glory.

The moral of the story is that where a listed building is involved you need to think twice even about the colour of the front door.

If you are in any doubt, please consult your Conveyancing Solicitor, or speak with your local council listed building officer.

You have been warned!

Photo: Still from High Plains Drifter