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What's red and white and staying put?

26/04/2017

The High Court has ruled on a long running legal saga concerning an eccentric property developer who painted the front of her Kensington property with red and white stripes. 

Mark Turner, a planning specialist from FBC Manby Bowdler explains that Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring was served with a notice by her local Council under s215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which stated that the painting adversely affected the amenity of the Kensington Square Conservation Area it which it was in, and requiring her to repaint the building white.

Ms Lisle-Mainwaring initially appealed against that notice to the Magistrates Court, who sided with the Council. A further appeal to the Crown Court was also unsuccessful. She then launched judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Gilbart concluded that a notice under s215 is limited to dealing with land or buildings whose condition, in the usual sense of that word, is such as to cause an adverse effect on amenity. The judge did not consider that a Council could use s215 to deal with a choice of finish which it dislikes, ruling that “in my judgement to allow a local planning authority to use s215 to deal with questions of aesthetics, as opposed to disrepair or dilapidation…..falls outside the intention and spirit of the Planning Code”. The judge did say that there were other methods which the Council could use to require Ms Lisle-Mainwaring to repaint the house, and so it looks like the saga could continue – watch this space!

Ms Lisle-Mainwaring carried out the painting under the General Permitted Development Order, which grants planning permission for some works without a formal application being required, including painting buildings. She was entitled to rely on that, the judge found.

Great care is needed when relying on this Order because it is complex, and not only do rights apply in different ways to different types of buildings and in different areas, but Councils are able to withdraw the rights, and frequently do, for example in Conservation Areas. In this case the Council had not withdrawn the right to paint the house, despite it being in a Conservation Area. The Order grants permission for house extensions, porches, outbuildings, and swimming pools amongst other things. However, all of these come with strict restrictions. 

With listed buildings, it is important to remember that no work should be carried out without compliance with the need to secure listed building consent where necessary, and some works cannot be done at all under the Order in the grounds of a listed building. Some works under the Permitted Development regime require notification to be given to the Council before the works can be done. 

For advise on your rights under the Order, please contact Mark on 01902 392430 or email m.turner@fbcmb.co.uk. Alternatively, please learn more about our Town & Country Planning services.

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