Mayor’s not tickled pink by charities’ shop fronts

BRIGHTLY-PAINTED charity buildings in the heart of a town’s conservation area have sparked debate and raised fears about a growing trend.

St Nicholas Hospice Care is facing criticism for painting its shop in Gainsborough Street, Sudbury, bright pink and The Bridge Project charity, in the same street, is now under fire after it also followed suit with bright paint – this time in shades of pink, blue and green.

Gainsborough Street – which boasts the Gainsborough’s House tourist attraction – is part of the town’s historic core, revealing listed buildings or those which appear on a local list for significant unlisted buildings.

The Sudbury Society contacted Babergh District Council about the colour of the hospice shop, described as “pretty garish” by one member, and Sudbury mayor Peter Goodchild labelled The Bridge Project’s fresh coat of paint as “hideous”.

But spokesmen for the charities said they were just trying to spruce up the buildings and make them more visible.

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Mr Goodchild said: “We do try and keep the town looking nice. We have enough problems with some of the signs some shops want to put up. It is a problem and I must say I’m quite disappointed with these two shops.”

But he added he could understand why the charities, which do a lot of good work, needed to try and stand out more due to their location.

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Sudbury Society member David Burnett, who has not yet seen the newly-painted Bridge Project, said: “I personally think St Nicholas Hospice Care is a little bit on the bright side for a listed building and seems to be setting a trend in the town and I think if it continued it would be undesirable.”

He did not believe The Bridge Project, which includes a cafe and shop, was a listed building.

A spokeswoman for the district council said it had discussions with the owner of the hospice building and would endeavour to come to a mutually acceptable solution.

She said the choice of colour did not have listed building consent, but a spokesman for the charity believed it had been approved, adding how pink was the main colour of the charity’s retail area.

Paul Abbott, director of fundraising and marketing at St Nicholas Hospice Care, said: “I am aware that the pink colour is vibrant and may not be to everyone’s tastes, but we have received a number of compliments from customers.”

Paul Mackman, a spokesman for The Bridge Project, which helps disadvantaged adults in the community, said Kent Blaxill, in Sudbury, had donated the materials and a group of volunteers came together last weekend to carry out the work.

Mr Mackman, who is also a trustee for the charity, said the colours chosen were taken from The Bridge Project logo, adding how it was felt their brightness was not unusual when compared with another building in the street.

The council spokeswoman said the council had not been aware buildings other than the hospice shop in Gainsborough Street had unacceptable paint work, but would now look into the issue.

The two buildings will be discussed at the town council’s planning meeting on Monday.

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