People living in a conservation area in Brighton will have to secure planning permission if they want to make changes to the front of their homes – including the colour of any paint.
The restrictions are the result of an “article four” direction for the Queen’s Park Conservation Area which was voted through by Greens and Conservatives at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting.
The conservation area is on Historic England’s “At Risk” register because of changes being made to homes there, such as roof extensions and painted brickwork.
The new constraints will mean that people need planning permission to make changes to windows, roofs and the colour of front walls other than approved shades of white, cream and grey.
Opposition Labour councillors tried to remove the restrictions on paint colours but they were told that they could not pick and choose which elements of the proposal to approve.
At a meeting of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee on Thursday (16 September), members also received the results of a public consultation about the new rules.
Nine residents said that the proposed colour scheme was “unnecessarily restrictive”, “incredibly narrow” and “dull, dull, dull”.
Labour councillor Amanda Evans, who represents Queen’s Park ward and lives in a neighbouring conservation area, said that article four restrictions in her neighbourhood did not limit paint colours.
She said: “I am not opposed to article four directions in general or to having them in this part of Queen’s Park ward in particular.
“I even agree with the prescribing of acceptable paint colours in some circumstances. The obvious example would be the grand listed Regency squares on the seafront which forever remain Regency cream.
“However, I – and I believe most residents in most wards if one were to go door to door asking them – draw the line at prescribing ‘acceptable’ paint colours in perfectly ordinary streets in purely residential parts of the city.”
She was concerned about the impact in Park Street, which she said had been “much improved” when many homes were painted in vibrant colours.
Now, people would have to pay £206 to seek planning permission to change the colour of their home from, say, bright red to bright blue.
Under the new rules, houses already painted a non-regulation colour could be repainted in the same colour.
If someone painted their house the “wrong” colour, planning officials would have to consider whether it harmed the conservation area before deciding whether to take action.
Green councillor Clare Rainey, who also represents Queen’s Park ward, said that planning officials would be expected to take into account people’s concerns about paint and the nature of areas such as Park Street.
She said: “The area around Queen’s Park is of architectural significance and includes some unique historical structures such as the Pepperpot and Queen’s Park water fountain.
“We welcome this article four direction which will help to prevent the loss of historical architectural features which contribute to the unique character of the area.”
Planning official Tim Jefferies said that the council would operate a “light touch” approach to paint colour if people were not strictly compliant.
He said: “Someone can paint the brickwork of their property. There are some lovely brickwork properties in Queen’s Park. Pictures could be painted as long as they’re not advertisements.
“This is to control the more unsympathetic proposals for the area. It’s worth mentioning the Queen’s Park Conservation area is on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register because of the incremental loss of detail. This would be intended to address that.”
He said that the options before councillors were either to confirm or reject the article four direction because the council could not amend or adapt the proposed wording.
Seven councillors voted for the tighter rules while the three Labour committee members abstained.
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