Couple win planning appeal to keep ‘beach-themed’ extension cladding on Ramsgate home

Doug and Sue Brown at their beach themed home

A Ramsgate couple who created ‘beach-themed’ blue and white cladding on their property extension have won their appeal against a Thanet 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 in April retrospective planning permission was refused with the council saying the cladding colour scheme must be removed.

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.

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.

Former town planner Mr Brown and wife Sue lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate and have now been notified that this was successful.

The appeal inspector Nicola Davies said in her decision: “The property can be seen on the approach when travelling west to east along London Road. However, being on the inside of a bend in the London Road highway and given its set back from London Road, No51 with its extension is only visible in localised views from London Road. Given the single storey nature of the extension, I do not find that it is particularly intrusive or visually prominent in public views at its corner siting.

“I saw that other properties in the area have variety to their finishes with some incorporating coloured hanging tiles, render, composite or upvc cladding, stonework, black tile, amongst other materials. I accept that the striped cladding would be different to that of the finish of any other property in the area. However, given the mix of finishes in the locality the striped composite cladding does not appear as an overtly visually discordant feature in this location.”

The beach hut silhouette at the property, which Thanet council says requires planning permission, is a separate matter and was not considered as part of the appeal decision.

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

Doug said: “I hope the council will take note of the decision and allow people to bring a bit of life and colour to our lovely seaside town as it seems lacking in many of the larger new developments they are allowing.”