Furious row erupts after St Ives ‘newcomer’ paints shop ‘hideous Smurf blue’

 (Daniel Dayment / SWNS)
(Daniel Dayment / SWNS)

A row has broken out after a “newcomer” to an idyllic seaside town painted a new shopfront dark blue.

Residents in St Ives in Cornwall are furious at what has been dubbed “the Smurf blue” former camera shop on one of its main shopping streets - and are demanding urgent action is taken.

They say it is totally out of keeping for a town made famous for its white-painted houses and shops that give the area a unique charm, beauty and light.

Some said the new owner should have stuck to magnolia instead of painting the facade a bright cobalt blue - and felt the much loved tourist destination was ‘starting to look like Benidorm.

Local councillors are now calling on St Ives Town Council to take immediate action.

The council confirmed it was in discussions with the property owner Mr Blueberry, who is said to be new to town and had reportedly wanted to put his “own creative stamp on things” with a view to open a business.

The local authority also said he did not have the required planning permission to change the colour of buildings in the conservation area.

Speaking on Friday, Nicholas Pearce, 48, who runs local surf shop wind and sea close to the building, said the strength of feeling among locals was strong.

He said: “It is a terribly dark blue and the way it is painted overnight without permission is wrong - and people in St Ives are angry about it.

“It has made the actual area darker itself. It used to be white and that gave a lot of light.

“All we know is basically been leased and taken over and not many people know what is going on - we heard a rumour it was going to be a clothes shop but don’t know for sure.

“Some locals have taken it very angrily as they just did it without permission overnight.

“The next day opening up I had to double look as it is a really loud blue.

“It is a hideous colour. Apparently they have agreed to change it - which they need to - to tone it down a bit but at the moment it is still there.

“A lot of locals in St Ives do get angry about things that happen in the town. They are very protective of preserving things. There was uproar about the Premier Inn that was planned at the top of town as the architecture was all wrong.

“I do understand that. Personally, I am all for change and I do like modernisation but I feel that colour done overnight without permission is wrong. I can see why a lot of locals are annoyed.”

The topic was also discussed on the Real Love St Ives Facebook group with local resident Jamie Law said: “What the hell have they done to the old camera shop? How on earth did this pass planning?”

Sara Jane Tomlinson added: “It’s disgusting. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s getting to look like Benidorm.”

Mandy Jones added: “It is hurting our eyes! And if it was done without permission it is other people’s business.”

But other residents said they had no issue with the paint job.

One said: “Honestly? First world problems. So much hate and negativity about the colour of a building. People need to realise there are much bigger issues to worry about than this. Get a grip people.”

Louise Dwelly, clerk of St Ives Town Council said discussions had taken place this week with the owner.

She added: “In terms of the colour, the general public will always have preferences, but it is very difficult for policy makers to take a view on an individual colour because it’s a very subjective matter.

“The shop is within a conservation area which has additional restrictions and means that planning permission would be required which the owner hasn’t done. The conservation area is about celebrating and protecting the distinctive characteristics of the historic town centre.

“Traditionally this would have been muted tones, white lime wash, blue slates etc.

“A planning application is a chance for a debate about whether a painted house has a detrimental impact on this. Set against this of course is precedent and the fact that there are other strong colours already.”