The owners of a home with a rainbow painted canopy have been hit with an enforcement notice after receiving several complaints.

The colourful awning sits atop a historic property on ‘The Paragon’ in Clifton in Bristol – part of the city’s most famous view from the Suspension Bridge.

Businessman Ken Aylmer put it up to ‘put a smile on people’s faces’, because his family are advocates of LGBTQ+ rights and as thanks to the NHS for helping a loved one.

Aylmer, 52, who owns eco deluxe holiday home business Tregulland & Co, said that a rainbow ‘means different things to different people but it is invariably positive, progressive and inclusive, right back to biblical times’.

But after receiving a small number of complaints about the canopy from irate locals, the businessman has now been forced to apply for a retrospective Listed Building application in order to protect the property.

One of the complainants said the rainbow was ‘completely inappropriate’ and ‘fails to blend with the colours of neighbouring properties.’

Another added: ‘There is no evidence that such canopies were ever painted in anything other than monochrome’.

To date, the application has so far generated 47 letters of support, with just five objections.

Mr Aylmer said he did it to thank the NHS after a family member was treated by the NHS for cancer, and because his kids support the NHS and LBGTQ+ rights.

‘Fair enough, I do understand we should have sought permission,’ he said.

‘And, in simple terms we thought it might put a smile on people’s faces as they look up from the Cumberland Basin.

‘We realise the canopy is in the iconic view of Bristol so we do need to think of the heritage of the building but our research showed that the Georgians loved colour, often painting all sorts of lead work in different hues, using the most colourful pigments they had, they used it for clothes and decorations, the past is not a dull colourless sombre place.

‘The Georgians were pushing the limits of what was possible at that time. On the Paragon they were using the latest building techniques to effectively build skyscrapers on the edge of a cliff 200 years ago.

‘The Georgians were flamboyant. Brunel wanted sphinxes on the Suspension Bridge for heaven’s sake. So we do have a precedent from the Georgians themselves.

‘For all we know the entirety of the Paragon’s and Royal York Crescent’s canopies were decorated colourfully at some point.

‘Think how amazing that would look. It would be a must see for anyone living in or visiting the city.

‘The heritage of a building is not just stuck in the past, it is constantly evolving and changing with the times.

‘These buildings were always meant to be inspirational. If the canopy helps flag up Bristol’s modern social aspirations and values then we are all for it.’

To date, the number of letters of support currently outnumber objections by nine to one.

One supporter said: ‘It can only seem trite, at best, and homophobic, at worst, to object to what is, after all, an entirely reversible and minor alteration in a view which some people probably thought the Suspension Bridge already spoiled centuries ago.’

Another backer said: ‘I fully support this beautiful addition to Bristol. And as a gay man would be very displeased if it’s removed to appease bigoted neighbours.’

But not everyone was happy with the plans.

One objector said: ‘This looks ugly and out of place. The Georgian architecture is spoiled by the clashing, distracting colours.

Another objector added: ‘I walked through Clifton today and what a horrific sight to look up and see a beautiful listed building with a bright rainbow canopy, surely this can’t be allowed. What an eyesore.’

A member of Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society said: ‘This canopy is attached to a listed house forming part of an architecturally important terrace in a very prominent position in the conservation area.

‘The bright rainbow colours are completely inappropriate and fail to blend with the colours of neighbouring properties.

‘There is no evidence that such canopies were ever painted in anything other than monochrome. This application must be refused.’

But Rory Hume of Moon Design, who is helping with securing the retrospective planning permission, said: ‘The colours of this canopy have now become part of the evolving landscape of Bristol.

‘Colour is joyful, uplifting and inspiring. To return this canopy to an unfinished dull grey appearance, like many of its neighbours, would certainly be a loss.’

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2023-03-24T17:50:04Z dg43tfdfdgfd