A FRUSTRATED shop owner in North Street, Chichester, thought it was a joke when he received a letter from Chichester District Council telling him he needed to repaint his shop front.
However, James Ward, from Chantry House Oak, has been forced to accept it is a serious request.
The Chichester store, which also has a branch in Worthing, sells its own manufactured furniture, rugs, and other interior decorations, and has an additional showroom in Oving.
The Grade II-listed building was repainted to purple from yellow recently – a return to its traditional colour.
Mr Ward said: “When I was first told, I didn’t respond because I thought it was a wind-up.
“They wrote a letter giving me 28 days to respond, and then phoned before the 28 days saying I hadn’t responded.”
Mr Ward and co-owner Belinda Barrington spent a long time researching the colour.
“We obviously didn’t want to paint it all sorts of weird and wonderful colours,” he said. “We chose from the English Heritage range of the Little Greene catalogue.”
The initial letter sent from the council described the colour as ‘unsympathetic with the listed building’.
After Mr Ward got in touch and explained his position, a second letter was sent from the council which said it was proposing to seek authority to issue a listed building enforcement notice to require the repainting of the shop front in a cream colour.
However, Mr Ward said he was told cream was only to be an interim colour while a more permanent colour was decided upon.
He added: “I don’t think they know what they’re doing.”
Now the shop is stuck in limbo.
“If the worst comes to the worst we didn’t want to re-sign as well. It’s an unnecessary aggravation. We did a lot of research and didn’t do it to pick the brightest colour.”
A Chichester District Council spokeswoman said: “The property is a listed building so has special protection for its architectural and historic interest.
“As the local planning authority, we have a duty to protect this.
“There is also a statutory requirement for any works affecting its character to gain listed building consent from the council.
“The council’s historic buildings adviser’s advice is that the colour is unsympathetic to the property.”