COVID-19 Update: Tozers is providing our usual client services while maintaining the safety of our clients and colleagues. Full update here

Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.


Painting judged to be outside the remit of Section 215 notices

Posted on 28th April 2017 in Local Authorities

Posted by

Kelly Burns

Painting judged to be outside the remit of Section 215 notices

Many people will remember the house painted in garish red and white stripes in a conservation area in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which caused consternation in the local planning authority offices (not to mention the neighbourhood).

Since the painting was permitted development not requiring an express grant of planning permission, no doubt there was much head scratching in the planning office on what to do – until someone came up with the bright idea of serving a Section 215 notice. Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 contains a power to require proper maintenance of land. It enables a local planning authority, if it appears to them that the that the amenity of a part of their area is adversely affected by the condition of land in their area, to serve a notice requiring  the condition of the land to be remedied. It is often used where buildings have become derelict. The Council served such a notice requiring the property to be repainted in white. Appeals were made by the owner to the Magistrates Court and to the Crown Court but they were rejected and the notice upheld, it being found that as a matter of law that the painting of the property is a matter that affects the condition of the land, and further that as a matter of fact, and in the Crown Court’s judgment, the painting of the property in this way had adversely affected amenity.

However a further appeal to the High Court has been successful. The judge Andrew Gilbart J. cautioned against a wide interpretation of “condition of the land” and he limited its meaning to the usual sense of that word, so as not to include questions of aesthetics or taste. He decided that a Section 215 notice cannot be used, where the complaint is not of lack of maintenance or repair, but of aesthetics. He also decided that the Section 215 notice could not be used  to remove permitted development rights – painting in this case.  He concluded that it is an improper use of Section 215 to use it to alter a lawful painting scheme, when there is no suggestion that there is any want of maintenance or repair in the land.

The decision may be applauded by libertarians but will not be welcome by local authorities. It is likely to significantly reduce the scope of the section and opens the way for legal challenges. The decision may well be appealed but subject to that, Banksys (or any form of graffiti) no longer need fear a Section 215 Notice being slapped on them.

For further advice please contact our specialist councils and planning team on 01392 204515 or email

Company & Industry

Related Insights


Using family mediation to help you separate

Posted on 18th January 2021 in Family Law

Mediation is a process in which an independent mediator works with a couple to help them reach a mutual agreement. It is a voluntary process, meaning that both parties need to commit to engaging in the process. It is open to either party to leave mediation at any stage.

Posted by

Aimee Aspinall

Chartered Legal Executive

Inheritance Tax for home-sharing siblings

Posted on 15th January 2021 in Later Life Planning

Last year, a new private members’ bill was introduced to Parliament, calling for there to be a ban on Inheritance Tax being paid by siblings who live together.

Posted by

Rachael Morley

Associate and Solicitor