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Planners visit Clare’s ‘Lilac House’
JUDGEMENT day has arrived for a woman who enraged the local council after painting her historic cottage bright lilac without planning permission.

Janice Daines has been locked in a much-publicised 21-month battle with St Edmundsbury Borough Council after she painted her Grade II listed home in Callis Street, Clare a vibrant shade of lilac.

Despite several round of planning disputes and hearings, defiant Mrs Daines has refused to repaint her property and vowed she would rather go to prison.

The Planning Inspectorate has been called in to settle the dispute and have visited the property for an inspection. A final decision on whether Mrs Daines will be forced to change the colour of her home will be made within the next five weeks.

The mother-of-two painted the cottage lilac in 1999, prompting the council to order Mrs Daines to repaint the house a more suitable colour for a conservation area, but she refused. During the long-running dispute, Mrs Daines has heard disgruntled councillors liken her house to ‘pantomime scenery’ and ‘Teletubby land’!

Mrs Daines hopes that a similar case from 1994 will help her to gain victory. Seven years ago Ted Braunholtz, 71, from Dorset was involved in a near identical battle with West Dorset District Council when he also painted his Grade II listed home lilac. After a lengthy dispute with the council, Mr Braunholtz was victorious when the Planning Inspectorate ruled the colour was not unsuitable.

“If it is good enough for Dorset, it should be good enough for Suffolk”, Mrs Daines said. She added: “I love the colour and think people should be able to have their homes any colour they like so long as they do not damage the building - this is just snobbery from within the bureaucracy”.

But St Edmundsbury Borough Council insisted the 17th century must be kept within the historical context of the area. They said it should be painted in a colour derived from a natural pigment such as white, off-white, dark yellow or dark red.

Why not have your say in the Guest Book – should the lilac stay or should it go!

Date : 02-11-2001