Unhappy civic society member complaint over ‘garishly’ painted LGBTQ+ canopy overlooking Bristol’s harbourside
The colourful display went up in October - now the owner faces a battle to keep it
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An area improvement society member has complained over a ‘garishly’ painted canopy introduced by its owner in a bid ‘to put a smile on people’s faces’.
The bright rainblow colours on the awning at The Paragon in Clifton are ‘completely inappropriate and fail to blend with the colours of neighbouring properties’ according to the member of Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society.
The matter has since been reported to Bristol City Council’s enforcement team - and a planning application now made to keep the colours, which were introduced by businessman Ken Aylmer because his family are advocates of LGBTQ+ rights and as thanks to the NHS for helping a loved one.
More than 40 comments supporting the application have since been received at the last count - hugely outnumbering just three objections.
Mr Aylmer, 52, who owns eco deluxe holiday home business Tregulland & Co, said: “Fair enough, I do understand we should have sought permission. And, in simple terms we thought it might put a smile on people’s faces as they look up from the Cumberland Basin.
“We realise the canopy is in the iconic view of Bristol so we do need to think of the heritage of the building but our research showed that the Georgians loved colour, often painting all sorts of lead work in different hues, using the most colourful pigments they had, they used it for clothes and decorations, the past is not a dull colourless sombre place.”
He added: “These buildings were always meant to be inspirational. If the canopy helps flag up Bristol’s modern social aspirations and values then we are all for it.”
Rory Hume of Moon Design, who is helping with securing the retrospective planning permission, said: “The variety of canopy finishes over the years have all added to the rich character of the crescent.
“The rainbow colours of 14 The Paragon, are just a further continuation of this tradition; I’m sure the Georgians would be proud.”
But not everyone is happy. The member of Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society said: “This garishly painted canopy was drawn to the Society’s attention some months ago, as a result of which we reported the matter to Planning Enforcement. Consequently a retrospective planning application has been made.
“This canopy is attached to a listed house forming part of an architecturally important terrace in a very prominent position in the conservation area.
“The bright rainbow colours are completely inappropriate and fail to blend with the colours of neighbouring properties.
“There is no evidence that such canopies were ever painted in anything other than monochrome. This application must be refused.”
Another objection said: “The question which the planners have to address is whether the rainbow colouring on the awning of no. 14 The Paragon detracts from the character of the building.
“I see that many supporters of this retrospective application consider that the current popular message to which they attribute this decoration or that any lick of bright colour to a Georgian building, is to be encouraged.
“According to presently constituted rules and polices such decoration does detract from the character of this fine Grade II* listed terrace which should not be permitted to be daubed with bright colours just because the decoration is approved by certain quarters.
“The planners have a long term responsibility in this connection and should not be persuaded by misguided support for a proposal which, if allowed, would be a damaging precedent for the protection of Bristol’s architectural heritage.”
Bristol City Council say an enforcement notice has not been served. A spokesperson said ‘’no notice will be served while the retrospective planning application is considered’’.
They said: “Planning applications are a matter for the local planning authority, unless called in by local councillors for a planning committee of councillors to decide.”
They added that the application was not called in by Cllr Katy Grant or Cllr Paula O’Rourke, the local councillors, before the end of the call-in window.
A spokesperson for Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society said: ‘’CHIS does not support this campaign.’’