Woman who painted her house in red and white stripes wins latest round of legal battle

Calling Sunderland fans among you. Fancy living in a house like this?
Calling Sunderland fans among you. Fancy living in a house like this?
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A woman who decorated her multimillion-pound townhouse with red and white stripes has won a High Court battle over a planning authority's order to repaint the property.

Property developer Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring painted candy stripes on the facade of the three-storey terraced building 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 had served her with a notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, setting out steps required to be taken within 28 days, including "repainting all external paintwork located on the front elevation white".

It said the notice was being served "because it appears to the council that the amenity of a part of their area is adversely affected by the condition of the land".

The notice stated: "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 over the requirement to repaint the property white, Ms 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".

An owner or occupier of land who fails to take steps required in such a notice within a specified period "shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine ... "

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: "In my judgment, to allow a local planning authority (LPA) to use section 215 to deal with questions of aesthetics, as opposed to disrepair or dilapidation, falls outside the intention and spirit of the Planning Code."

Mr Justice Gilbart said he noted the Crown Court's finding that Ms 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."