Grapes of wrath in Suffolk town

COUNCILLORS are “wasting money and time” by demanding a public house in the centre of a Suffolk town changes its vivid colour scheme, residents have said.

COUNCILLORS are “wasting money and time” by demanding a public house in the centre of a Suffolk town changes its vivid colour scheme, residents have said.

Taxpayers in Bury St Edmunds yesterday spoke out in support of the chosen bright blue hue currently adorning The Grapes, on the corner of Brentgovel Street and criticised members for the “unnecessary” uproar caused by the change.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has recommended serving an enforcement notice on brewing giants Greene King, which own the Grade II listed pub, demanding the paintwork is toned down.

But the furore over the colour, deemed as “inappropriate” for a building in the town's historic core, has left residents bemused.

Pensioner Bert Turner, shopping in Bury, spoke out in support of The Grapes, at which he regularly drinks.

“I use that pub and I didn't even notice it had been painted blue,” he said.

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“I think this is a lot of fuss about nothing, and the council should have something better to do. It looks fine as it is and as long as the beer is good, I don't see a problem. The colour certainly won't stop me going in.”

Matthew Hart said: “I think the council should definitely have something better to do with its time rather than worrying about what colour a pub is. The colour fits in, and would certainly not stop me drinking in there.”

Also speaking in support of The Grapes, Andy Smith said: “It looks fine to me, and I really don't see what the issue is. I am sure there are more important things the council could be spending its time doing - like tackling problems such as homelessness.”

Helena Allen agreed and said: “I walk past the pub regularly, and I have never really noticed it before. I think the colour is fine.”

While Tasha Webber agreed the chosen shade of blue was very bright and could be toned down, she also admitted: “The council should have better things to do. I can't see why the colour matters.”

But Richard Spring, Conservative MP for West Suffolk, also shared his opinions on the pub while walking through town.

He said: “I am very much in favour of the colour blue, and anything blue makes me happy - but not on this particular pub.”

Bosses at Greene King have pledged to appeal against the enforcement notice But they have agreed to respect a final decision made after the hearing, while a spokesman for the council has refuted allegations of time wasting.

“Protecting the appearance of our historic town centre is an essential part of the council's work if we are to continue seeing our unique town grow and thrive,” she said.

“We take the view that the advertising signs and colour, picking out the architectural features on this Grade II listed building, in a conservation area in our historic town was inappropriate.”

This incident is the second time the council has been embroiled in a massive row over the shade of a building.

Janice Danes, owner of the 'famous' lilac house in Clare, was forced to repaint her home in Suffolk pink following three years of wrangles with the authority.

Mrs Danes, who decorated the building without prior permission, eventually gave in to the council's demands amid fears she may be sent to prison.