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Leathermarket Street’s "pink palace" must go, says planning inspector

A planning inspector has rejected a PR company's appeal against Southwark Council's refusal of listed building consent for the repainting of an office building's window frames in a "strident deep pink".

Leathermarket Street’s

It is more than a year since the doors and window frames of the grade II listed building at 4 Leathermarket Street were repainted from green to a shade of pink called "mischief".

The public relations company which occupies the building soon received a visit from a Southwark Council enforcement officer who explained that changing the colour of a listed building would require consent from the council.

The SPA Way (now Spider PR) submitted a retrospective application which attracted support from local artist Norman Ackroyd and opposition from well-known actor Rory Kinnear.

Last October the council declined to grant consent for the pink paint but The SPA Way lodged an appeal and the case was considered by planning inspector John Millard.

After a site visit in mid-June the inspector's decision to dismiss the appeal was published last week.

"The repainting scheme has replaced the green with a strident deep pink that is overtly modern in appearance and uncharacteristic of early 19th century architecture, contrasting markedly with the more muted and dignified colours of most other buildings from the same period in the vicinity," wrote Mr Millard.

"In my opinion, the use of this historically inaccurate and unsympathetic colour has materially altered the character of the facade so it no longer integrates well into the wider street scene but stands out as a landmark feature, to the detriment of the established character of the area.

"Whilst I appreciate the appellant's wish to 'freshen-up' the facade, this must be achieved without harm to the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building, the settings of neighbouring listed buildings or the character and appearance of the conservation area."

Sara Pearson, chief executive of Spider PR, told the SE1 website this week: "We love our 'pink palace' and have only had good things said about it to our faces."

Ms Pearson didn't answer our enquiry as to whether she plans to repaint the building again.

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