Monday, 11 September 2017

The Stripey House – the end of the saga?

Apart from noting the litigation relating to the painting of the ‘stripey house’ in Kensington & Chelsea (which involved a section 215 Notice, later quashed by the High Court in April of this year – see House-painting not within the scope of section 215, posted here on Tuesday, 2 May 2017), I have not attempted to follow in any detail the long and convoluted battle between Mrs Lisle-Mainwaring and her neighbours, who had recruited the assistance of the LPA in their struggle to thwart her plans to redevelop the site. It was this that had led to the painting of the house with red and white vertical stripes by way, in effect, of protest against the neighbours’ unrelenting campaign.

I did, however, report the quashing of Mrs Lisle-Mainwaring’s intended development plans in the High Court last November (Stripey house – another twist in the tale, posted here on Wednesday, 2 November 2016). That decision has now been overturned by the Court of Appeal. I do not yet have a note of the neutral citation number of the Court of Appeal’s decision, but the court was clear in their decision to restore the Inspector’s original appeal decision allowing Mrs Lisle-Mainwaring’s appeal against the refusal of planning permission by RBKC for demolition of the house (which had actually been in use as an office) and its replacement by a new dwelling, with the now obligatory double basement without which one simply couldn’t bear to live in London nowadays.

The office use had ceased, and the Inspector had found that there was no realistic prospect of the building being returned to office use. There was therefore no sustainable policy objection to the proposed development. Lindblom LJ, in allowing the appeal, held that the Inspector was entitled to reach such a conclusion, and that his decision was not legally flawed (contrary to the view expressed by the High Court).

The Court of Appeal’s judgment does not impinge in any way on the other High Court decision in which it had been held that the paint scheme applied to a house cannot properly be the subject of a section 215 notice, and so that decision stands. In practice, however, the days of the stripey house are now numbered, because it will disappear on being demolished to make way for its replacement.

Dare we hope that this finally puts an end to this long and convoluted legal saga?



  1. Neutral Citation Number: [2017] EWCA Civ 1315

  2. One imagines the house slowly vanishing, with only the stripes remaining, Cheshire cat style. I understand that there's a chance that this may go to the Supreme Court, but, assuming it doesn't, do you think that this has broader implications for demolition within a conservation area?

  3. I would be somewhat surprised if this case were to go on to the Supreme Court. Quite apart from the difficulty of gaining permission to appeal from either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, it would depend upon the neighbour (whose challenge, under section 288, to the Inspector’s appeal decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal) being willing to face the further expense, and the risk as to costs if he were to lose in the Supreme Court. But I suppose we shall have to wait and see if he does want to take it further.

    I haven’t followed this litigation in any detail (apart from the section 215 point), so I can’t really comment on the broader implications, if any, for the conservation area, whether from the demolition or from the redevelopment, but I rather gather that these issues were dealt with by the Inspector, and so it is difficult to see what further points might arise in that regard.