Teignbridge District Council in Devon has written to Ann Kennedy, the owner of a thatched 17th century cottage, demanding that she repaints it a lighter shade of pink. Kennedy had given it a fresh coat of paint, a fraction darker than it was previously, and apparently fell foul of planning rules.
And she's not the only one.
RepaintAccording to the Daily Mail, the council told Kennedy that it had received a complaint about the new shade: it threatened her with legal action unless she repaints it a lighter pink.
She told the newspaper she was devastated, that the cottage was pink when she moved in, and that the complainant couldn't even see her cottage from where they live. She has support from a local Liberal Democrat Councillor and the parish council is happy with the new shade.
The council also told Kennedy she ought to have applied for planning permission if she wanted to change the colour of the cottage. She has submitted a retrospective application, and will hear the result in June.
Bizarre rowsIt seems like an awful lot of energy and effort to be expended on defining the correct shade of pink. However, it's not the only bizarre planning row to have hit the headlines recently.
This month there was the sad tale of a row between neighbours in Brighton, which blew up after one applied for planning permission to alter his balcony and the other objected - both in his own name and that of a fabricated neighbour. The balcony owner sued for defamation and malicious falsehood. A court found the second man guilty, but the judge pointed out that they had fallen out over a series of small issues, and said "If you could step back and cool down, and avoid coming to court again, that would be desirable, otherwise more money will be wasted."
The question is whether the government's efforts to make life easier for people to alter their property without planning permission is going to make things worse. Will we see neighbours pitted against one another over the size of their conservatory? Will we see daggers drawn over the shade of house-paint? Or will it introduce a new sense of flexibly and compromise in an area which has previously been tangled in red tape?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.