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A Brush With the Law - Painted Properties and the Planning Acts

on Tuesday, 23 May 2017.

Can your local planning authority compel you to repaint a 'garish' property?

Background

Ms Lisle-Mainwaring owned a property in a quaint and fashionable cul-de-sac in a conservation area in Kensington. Following a protracted planning dispute with her neighbours, she painted the front of the property with (now famous) red and white stripes.

The local planning authority issued a notice under s215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, requiring her to repaint the front of the property white. Ms Lisle-Mainwaring appealed to the Magistrates' Court and the Crown Court. Both upheld the notice. Ms Lisle-Mainwaring sought a judicial review of their decisions.

The Tribunal's Decision

The High Court quashed the decisions. It held that:

  • It was entirely lawful for Ms Lisle-Mainwaring to paint her property how she liked. Consent to the change of appearance was deemed to have been given by the General Permitted Development Order.

  • Had the local planning authority wanted to discontinue or impose conditions on the lawful use (such as requiring the property to be repainted), it could have made an order under s102. The local planning authority is required to pay compensation to the owner when using this power and cannot avoid this by using s215.

  • Under s215, a notice may only be served if the amenity of the area is adversely affected by the 'condition of the land', which extends to the maintenance of the fabric of buildings but not to questions of aesthetics or taste.

So Can I Paint My House Whatever Colour I Like?

Whilst the current GPDO does entitle a person to paint the exterior of a non-listed building any colour, doing so is likely to be short lived.

A local planning authority may make a s102 order, requiring the colour to be changed, if it considers that it is expedient in the interest of the proper planning or amenity of the area to do so. Any compensation is likely to be nominal.


For more information, please contact Philip Sheppard in our Commercial Property team on 0117 314 5621.

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