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Ashford council force Woolpack pub in Tenterden to paint over its pink colour

By Rachael Woods

It’s all white now. A pub has lost its distinctive pink colour and has been repainted in a traditional white hue following a lengthy battle.

The saga over the colour of The Woolpack in Tenterden town centre began when landlord Rob Cowan decided to give the High Street hostelry a lick of paint in 2014.

Despite the colour being warmly received by residents of the town, bosses at Ashford Borough Council (ABC) gave it a distinctly cool reception and ordered Mr Cowan to repaint the 500-year building.

Rob Cowan outside The Woolpack
Rob Cowan outside The Woolpack

The landlord, who has a degree in architecture, argued he had chosen "a perfectly lovely colour" after researching an English Heritage range.

Patrons rallied around the landlord and around 500 people signed a petition supporting his bid to keep the pub pink.

But his brush with authority ended up in the matter being referred to the Planning Inspectorate, who ruled in ABC’s favour.

Now the Grade II listed premises has been painted in Wimborne white – a return to the colour it was just over three years ago.

Mr Cowan said: “The white is not what we like, or want, but it’s what we have been ordered to paint the pub.

“There was not a single complaint made directly to the pub about the pink and people always said they liked it.”

The Jewel in the Weald Facebook page, which posted a picture of the pub being painted white, was awash with comments from residents, the overwhelming majority of whom said they preferred the pink.

Stephanie Glanville wrote: “The pink is so lovely, welcoming and appropriate. Why a harsh brilliant white? Not really in keeping with the style or age of building.”

Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White and Mouse’s Back
Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White and Mouse’s Back

Wendy Marlow Sabine posted: “What’s wrong with the pink? It was subtle but cheerful. I will be sorry to see it go.”

Amanda Brown weighed into the argument, writing: “Most definitely prefer the pink!”

Wimborne white is described by manufacturer Farrow & Ball as "only a shade away from pure white".

The pub’s woodwork is being painted in another colour from the same range – mouse’s back.

Mr Cowan did make a bid for an alternative colour for the building from the Farrow & Ball range – London stone, instead of the Wimborne white.

It is described by the firm as a “warm mid brown” created by John Sutcliffe for a classic Nash house in Regent’s Park, but ABC officials told Mr Cowan that it would be too “dark and dominant” in the High Street.

The landlord said: “It’s nonsense really as there are plenty examples of strong colours in the High Street.

"They (ABC) are being very prescriptive about it and insisting on the white runs totally counter to public opinion.”

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