AN eccentric homeowner’s decision to paint her home pink has prompted councillors to implement a new planning measure.
Located in a conservation area, the old lifeboat house in Marine Parade, Worthing, is not a listed building.
I’m questioning what’s the point in doing this if we can’t retrospectively change that building?Councillor Michael Cloake
Because of this, councillors have not been able to do anything about the drastic colour change.
At a Worthing Borough Council planning meeting last Wednesday, councillors voted to approve an Article 4 (1) Direction for buildings along the seafront between Splashpoint and Heene Terrace.
The direction means homeowners will now need to consult with planning officers should they want to change the colour of their homes, however, it does not allow retrospective action to be taken.
Councillor James Doyle said: “I have long been an advocate of having more colour on our seafront. If you go and look at New Parade, just adjacent to the Aquarena, or you look at some of the Edwardian villas along East Worthing seafront, good strong colour can really work.
“I don’t want us to end up like Hove or Bath where it’s masses and masses of one colour. Having said that, that isn’t good colour. It’s the wrong colour and it’s really badly done, and it’s a terrible example.
“I support the recommendation because it doesn’t say prevent or prohibit it says control and I think there is some scope for us to do interesting things.”
Meanwhile, Councillor Hazel Thorpe said she did not want the seafront to look like Balamory – a children’s television programme set in the colourful town of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.
Concern was expressed over who would have the final say on what was tasteful and what was not.
James Appleton, the council’s head of planning and regeneration, said the decision would either be made by planning officers using delegated powers or by the planning committee.
Councillor Michael Cloake said: “I think it’s an important principal that people who own their own buildings should really be able to do what they like with their buildings, notwithstanding something like that.
“I’m questioning what’s the point in doing this if we can’t retrospectively change that building? What we’re really doing here is reacting after the horse has bolted. Putting in a knee-jerk piece of regulation to the single incident where we’ve had an issue with the colour of a building on the seafront. I think this might mire us in applications and paperwork.”
Residents living in homes directly affected by the change will be consulted.
Mr Appleton said the fact that residents now need to apply for permission does not necessarily mean they will be refused.
“It is a difficult matter as we didn’t expect perhaps this would happen on the seafront,” said Mr Appleton. “In reality, I think there will be very few applications. It will perhaps just remind people that they are in a conservation area to think twice about choosing a very bright colour in the future.”
Councillor Vicky Vaughan said she had felt embarrassed by the council’s lack of control before the Direction was put in place.
She said: “I found it really embarrassing saying to people there was nothing we could do about that house. To have some kind of control is only a good thing. I can’t wait for the public to find out we have done something positive.”