Couple launch planning appeal in bid to keep ‘beach-themed’ extension cladding on Ramsgate home

Doug and Sue Brown are fighting to keep their beach themed cladding

A couple who created ‘beach-themed’ blue and white cladding on their property extension are fighting a council decision to reject planning permission.

Doug and Sue Brown have blue, white and grey striped cladding on the property in London Road, Ramsgate, which they say is “based upon a common seaside theme, stripey deckchairs, windbreaks and beach huts and invites visitors towards those attractions.

“The colours are complementary pastel shades and are only seen from relatively close quarters, a surprise in the street scene. The design cheers people up and forms a bit of local art for people’s enjoyment.”

But when the case went to Thanet council’s planning committee last month retrospective planning permission was refused. This means the cladding colour scheme must be removed.

The colourful property on the corner of London Road

The approved extension was proposed to be white render with grey UPVC windows and doors but is now white, grey and blue stripes alongside a with a ‘beach hut’ style silhouette. One complaint was made to Thanet council against the altered design.

Councillors on the planning committee were torn by the application. Cllr Brenda Rogers – who was at the meeting to speak for the couple but was not entitled to vote – was in support of the design, pointing out the many positive comments that had been made while Cllr Jill Bayford said the design was ‘pretty’ but had to be judged on planning standards.

Planning officers said the cladding was: “visually intrusive, incongruous and discordant.”

A vote on the issue had to be taken twice. The first vote resulted in a tie of four backing the refusal and four against the officer’s advice while five members abstained.

A second vote resulted in six votes to refuse, four not supporting the recommendation and three abstentions.

Planners say the design is ‘intrusive’

Now former town planner Mr Brown and wife Sue have lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate and made a separate complaint to the council over the meeting minutes which do not record the double vote.

In his appeal document Mr Brown says: “Design is a very subjective matter, anything out of the ordinary is sometimes frowned upon. In this case however there has only been one objection to the scheme and 22 letters of support as well as all the other online comments of support. I have also received a letter of support from the Westcliff Conservation and Community Association.

“I feel that good design is often only realised through public appreciation. If the reaction to this proposal had been universal condemnation, I would have removed it, however that has not been the case. The public have expressed their views and public opinion is strongly supportive of keeping the cladding and I feel that there is a strong case for keeping the cladding because people like it and it makes them smile.”

Mr Brown says the refusal was based on a very narrow interpretation of policy and also a “misunderstanding of location.” Mr Brown says: “It is stated that the property is prominent in the street scene. The appeal property is on the inside of a bend which means it is not visible from long distances. It is also screened by trees, hedges and boundary walls.”

The couple have lived at their home for 33 years and say they intend to spend the rest of their lives there.

Mr Brown has requested a public hearing for the appeal due to the level of interest that has been shown.

60 Comments

  1. I love this house. I had been driving past it for months without even noticing it until someone pointed it out to me. It really isn’t an eyesore, nor obtrusive in any way and I think it would be a real shame if it had to be removed.

  2. Lighten up planning people. Everybody, bar one person, thinks it’s great. So they didn’t follow exactly to the rules. If everyone did, the world would be a boring place to live in. Good luck to them.

    • The world would descend into chaotic anarchy without Rules, Regulations and Laws Richard! Why didn’t these people apply for planning permission to do this work in the first place? Why do they think they can ignore Planning Laws? It seems like sheer arrogance to me, I hope their appeal fails.

      • I too wonder why they didn’t apply for this design originally. Mr Brown was a senior member of the planning department some years ago, so he should know what the rules are.

  3. I hope they succeed in having this decision overturned.
    TDC need to hang their collective head in shame, the house addition looks most attractive.

  4. Better than some eye sores around Thanet ie:derelict property’s and rubbish everywhere Get real TDC and give pleasure to people I think its great and how can there be a question of planning when only I person objects, I object to lots of things especially all the flats everywhere, they are more of an eyesore that this house

    • Yep, apparently the cigarette butt & dog faeces covered streets & swathes of white windowed & boarded up empty shops is not an eyesore, but somehow this & somebody in Cliftonville painting their house black is.

      • I think it’s a lovely design fun and unique. Cheer up Thanet council allow people to express them selves and cheer up the neighbourhood.
        Council’s time and money should be spent on improving residents quality of life and improving life chances for all.
        Thanet Council please can you stop mucking about with this and spend your time and residence money on actual issues.

    • I fully agree streets around thanet litter,graffati,empty shops.Shame on T.D.Good-luck.

  5. I don’t like it either. And I don’t understand why this couple didn’t apply for the beach-hut design in the first place, if that’s the sort of thing they like.

  6. Funny KCC/TDC wax lyrical about the childish doodlings & junk being displayed in the Turder Centre they throw insane amounts of cash at every year, yet waste money go after people displaying more artistic ability than anything in that white shark & cheering people up. But then again Emin can sell her dirty bed for millions & have it pronounced as an artistic masterpiece, any of us doing it & displaying it in our front gardens would be prosecuted & have it removed as a health hazard.

    • Hi Steve, we’d really like to include some of your creative writing in the next Margate Mercury.

      Please get in touch as your breadth of artistic knowledge and poetic handling of language deserves a wider audience.

  7. It’s lovely & bright & in keeping with a seaside town – back off Council, this is not an eyesore & we all need something to brighten our days at this unprecendanted time in our lives

  8. Love this – it’s in keeping with a coastal town and heaps better than the run down eyesores elsewhere on the Isle

  9. It fails to meet both local and national planning regs.
    That’s why planning permission was refused.
    Thank goodness we have planning regulations. Otherwise every where would look like Disney World.

  10. Why is this particular case getting so much coverage? It seems quite straightforward.

    • Are you by any chance the 1 complainant? I love it and hope they win. We need more people like them.

      • The person who objected was their next-door neighbour. Ramsgate Heritage Group also objected. I did not submit an objection, because I did not think the decision would or should be based on the public’s personal opinions.

  11. Its lovely.
    Cheers me up every time I drive by!
    Leave people alone for goodness saje. Enhances the area as people drive in to Ramsgate because this is the SEASIDE! Dont be so miserable those who object, not doing anyone ANY HARM

  12. I am not miserable, I just don’t like the look of it. The couple should have applied for this design originally if that’s what they really wanted.

    It doesn’t matter how many people think it’s attractive, cheerful and so on- I don’t, and I am certainly not the only one who doesn’t.

    Oh, and not everyone “drives into Ramsgate”. There is a bus service between Sandwich and Ramsgate which goes along London Road.

  13. The trouble with TDC is that the majority of them haven’t the money or artistic attributes to live in a happy inviroment just let these people live on the house they own , happily and tell the complainant that their complaint has been noted then lose it like most things that are sent to the council beaurocrats .

  14. Why on earth would anyone object to a seaside theme by the SEASIDE?. The government is supposed to be supporting innovative design so that we don’t end up with swathes of new build rabbit hutches as we see at Westwood.
    I bet TDC would be fine with a hideous mock tudor or neo Georgian theme which kind of says it all…. Good luck with the appeal.

    • TDC were “fine” with the original application. But the applicants went ahead with the current design instead.

  15. I live close by and it certainly doesn’t cheer me up. It’s a horrible, tacky design and very poorly executed. Doug Brown worked for TDC as a senior planning officer for many years. He knew the rules, but clearly decided on this occasion that they didn’t apply to him.

  16. Personally I’m not fussed either way – it’s certainly not an eyesore.
    TDC should focus their attentions on the eyesore they themseleves have created by the Margate Clock Tower – the Portaloo’s.
    Why on earth have they not done something about rebuilding/restoring/replacing the public toilets that have been out of use for a couple of years or so.

    • No money available to do so. There are likely lots of big bills lurking in the shafows of the TDC offices that need paying first.

  17. The appeal will be heard by a Planning Inspector.
    He or she will consider the merits (if any) of the application against a set of criteria described in the Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework.
    If it meets those criteria, approval will be given. If it doesn’t, approval will be turned down.
    The number of people writing to the newspaper doesn’t feature in the criteria being assessed.

    • However as i understand it, planning enforcement is a discretionary power not a statutory duty for the council and as such sufficient numbers of people supporting or objections could feasibly make a difference to the councils approach to the matter. Though yet again the whole thing does smack of a bit of internal “score settling “ given the applicants previous role.
      To my eye the scheme is certainly different but hardly intrusive or offensive. Really it should be a matter for the neighbours who can see it from their own properties to decide, otherwise it affects no one, you could claim the yellow house on the westbrook seafront is more out of keeping, but everyone accepts that as being just a bit of eccentric whimsy which bothers nobody.

      • How could it make a difference? The current support/object comments are based purely on people’s aesthetic preferences.

        • Because if such enforcement is a discretionary power, the council could easily decide that sufficient public support for the scheme means that overall there is no “harm” caused and as such allow the changes to remain.
          As i’ve pointed out elsewhere the council have happily ignored flagrant breaches of planning law where it suits them.
          So in this case if there were say 100 comments of support and 10 of objection would it really be in the public interest to pursue the matter? However reverse the situation and then taking action would seem perfectly reasonable.
          I can show you a flat , freeholder is the council, they sold it off as a leasehold , the purchaser turned it into a 2 bed, breaching all sorts of planning , building regs , lease and guidelines. Council chose to do nothing about it. Surely ensuring that housing is created in line with the rules is far more important than a bit of exterior decoration?
          There was a person that was forever complaining to the council about buildings that breached various regs and submitted lots of foi requests, they ended up becoming an advisor to the council .TDC works in weird and wonderful ways.

  18. When I apply for permission to put red, green and white cladding on me house-front- with the silhouette of a red dragon suspended from the top of the front wall- I shall remember to ask people on facebook to comment supportively on the planning website.

  19. Really!!!!!! What a lot of fuss about nothing. This house brightens up a dull street with a lot of dull people most moaning about this house Don’t you all have anything else to do and that goes for the council as well. There are plenty of other things to report to the council such as rubbish, dogs’ toilet and boarded windows. Get a life all of you. This house looks great so leave it alone.

  20. The council better get used to cladding and modification to the outside of peoples houses if we are to get anywhere near to fulfilling the suggested insulation requirements for the old housing stock in Thanet. Many houses Victorian and Edwardian are single skin and with lots of drafts.

    • Well said. The government haven’t thought it all through, as usual. They lack any foresight. Can’t wait to see the state of houses in ten years.

  21. Good luck.

    I hope common sense prevails.

    There is nothing wrong with some simple colours on a house

    People employed with not enough work to do and people at home with petty lives objecting.

  22. I do not feel that my life is “petty”. I daresay the others who don’t like this beach-hutty look would not describe their lives as “petty” either.

    • How many times have you commented on articles about this story? It’s embarrassing and you seem almost a lone voice saying it’s offensive…. so if most people seem to think the house is fine and we live in a democracy do we need to pander to your constantly bleating about this house?

  23. I like it, much better than that hideous bright orange house with green windows as you come into Ramsgate. If these guys have to change it, so should they.

  24. I think that it looks rather nice myself obviously not everyone’s cup of tea for sure but good luck to them anyway.

  25. Denise Sapsford- the people who dislike this beach-hut design do so not because they’re jealous but because they just don’t like the way it looks.

Comments are closed.