The Crown Court agreed last month that a Section 215 Notice (normally used to require the tidying of sites) was the appropriate method for the Royal London Borough of Chelsea to seek the repainting of this mews building in a Conservation Area back to white.
In dismissing the appeal, the Judge held that “amenity” is a broad concept, not defined by the section. It is a question of judgement, taking a broad view of the condition of the site, the impact that this has on the surrounding area. The “condition of land” refers to the current state of the land, and a Section 215 notice can be used to require works going beyond mere maintenance, so as to remedy the appearance of the land.
One of the key features of the conservation area in which this property sits was its visual integrity, with only a limited range of neutral colours on paint buildings. Painting the property in garish stripes was disruptive to the townscape and harmed the uniformity of buildings within the conservation area, adversely affecting the amenity. The painting was unsightly, and Section 215 supplied an appropriate means of tackling the unsightly condition of land or buildings.
This case garnered public interest in that, apparently, the appellant ordered her contractors to paint the stripes to annoy her neighbours who had raised significant objections to a planning application at the property!