Woman whose striped house annoyed neighbours need not repaint it, court says – The Guardian

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A woman who angered her neighbours by decorating her multimillion-pound townhouse with red and white stripes can ignore a planning order to repaint the property, the high court has ruled.

Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring, a property developer, painted candy stripes on the three-storey facade of the terrace home in South End, Kensington, west London, in March 2015.

She has denied that the paint job was done to spite neighbours who objected to her plans to demolish the property, currently used for storage, and replace it with a new home.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea served her with a notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, requiring her to repaint “all external paintwork located on the front elevation white” within 28 days.

It said: “The condition and appearance of the property, particularly the red and white painted stripes on the front elevation, is incongruous with the streetscape of South End and the local area.”

After failed appeals to magistrates and Isleworth crown court last year, Lisle-Mainwaring launched judicial review action at the high court in London. On Monday, a judge ruled in her favour and quashed the notice.

One issue was whether a notice served under section 215 of the 1990 act “may be used when the complaint is that the planning authority considers that the choice of painting scheme harms amenity”.

Kensington’s candy-striped house: could you live next door?

Mr Justice Gilbart, who said the painting of the house had been “entirely lawful”, posed the question: “Is it proper to use a section 215 notice where the complaint is not lack of maintenance or repair, but of aesthetics?”

He ruled that using section 215 “to deal with questions of aesthetics, as opposed to disrepair or dilapidation, falls outside the intention and spirit of the planning code”.

Gilbart said he noted the crown court’s finding that Lisle-Mainwaring “painted the house in stripes as a matter or pique”. He added: “She may well have done, but section 215 does not entitle one to address the motive of a landowner.

“A garish – to use the judge’s phrase – colour scheme may have come about because of an owner’s eccentricity or because of his/her pique. The section does not apply any differently to the latter than it does to the former.”

The effect of “upholding this notice will be to give an LPA power to cause buildings to be removed, altered or repainted because the LPA (and magistrates or crown court on appeal) dislikes the appearance thus created, on grounds that relate only to aesthetics”.

He said: “I am therefore of the view that it is an improper use of section 215 to use it to alter a lawful painting scheme, when there is no suggestion that there is any want of maintenance or repair in the land.”

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