Couple told their lilac-painted house 'harms the appearance of local area'

·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
Kate Codrington and her partner Ian Davis painted the front of their home in Oxhey, Hertfordshire, lilac last August. (SWNS)
Kate Codrington and her partner Ian Davis painted the front of their home in Oxhey, Hertfordshire, lilac last August. (SWNS)

A couple who painted their house lilac last year may be forced to change the colour after the local council told them it was harmful to the surrounding area.

Kate Codrington, 55, and her partner Ian Davis, 62, redecorated the front of their home in Oxhey, Hertfordshire, last August.

But after changing the building from cream to a light lilac, the couple have now been told the change is not allowed due to the period of the properties in the street.

Following an anonymous complaint, Watford Borough Council told the couple they needed to have secured planning permission as the street is in a conservation area.

But their retrospective planning application to repaint the front of their home has been rejected and Codrington, who has lived in the house more than 15 years, said she was "severely shocked” by the decision.

According to the council decision report, the officer described the lilac colour as "inappropriate to the period of the building which would have used stone like colours", adding other painted neighbouring properties in the street are "finished in mostly cream and off-white shades".

Kate Codrington said she was 'severely shocked' by the council's decision. (SWNS)
Kate Codrington said she was 'severely shocked' by the council's decision. (SWNS)

The officer added the lilac colour "harms the character and appearance" of the property and conservation area it sits in and said it was "unacceptable in terms of design".

Responding to the officer's comments, Codrington said: "I have lived in this house since 2005 and this is just tedious.

"The council shouldn't be picking on house colours especially with all of the big ugly tower blocks in Watford."

Codrington and Davis have now started a petition to abolish the conservation zone in Oxhey, which was introduced in 2013.

In their petition, they describe conservation areas as "unfair, costly and an undemocratic burden on those who live within them".

Explaining why she had her house repainted, Ms Codrington said: "It is life-enhancing and lifts hearts on a grey day. The world needs more joy and colour.

The council described the lilac colour as 'inappropriate to the period of the building which would have used stone like colours'. (SWNS)
The council described the lilac colour as 'inappropriate to the period of the building which would have used stone like colours'. (SWNS)

"The house had been shabby for two years and it showed dirt. We didn't know permission was needed and I wasn't aware about the conservation zone.

"We love living in Oxhey, it's a great neighbourhood but it's an architectural jumble and that's how we like it, so what exactly are we conserving?"

She added: "I won't let small-minded moaners and council bureaucracy ruin my mental health but we are considering what action to take about this decision."

Ben Martin, head of planning and development at Watford Borough Council, said the authority has to protect Watford's heritage.

He added: "Planning issues do range hugely in scale from the paint used on a house in a conservation area to large scale developments providing much needed homes for Watford families…

"Protecting the town's heritage remains a big issue for a number of residents."

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