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Conservationists upset over chocolate-brown paint job on frontage of historic Falstaff Hotel in St Dunstans, Canterbury

The repainting of the frontage of one of Kent's most historic hotels has come under fire from conservationists.

The work underway at the 14th century Falstaff Hotel in St Dunstan’s, Canterbury, has upset members of the Canterbury Society, who say the “horrible” chocolate brown colour is unsympathetic to the Grade II-listed property.

The chocolate-brown Falstaff Hotel in St Dunstans, Canterbury
The chocolate-brown Falstaff Hotel in St Dunstans, Canterbury

The building was first painted brown about six years ago, much to the dismay of conservationists who say it later began to peel off and look unattractive.

Now they are appalled the same colour paint is being applied again, instead of a more traditional cream or white to suit the period property.

Dr Hubert Pragnell, a Canterbury Society committee member, said: “I was pleased to see the old execrable coating of dark chocolate-toned paint, pealing under repeated hot spells, being removed.

“I thought that good sense had prevailed and the frontage was to be restored to the appearance many of us will remember it - a wash of white or cream paint over the probable 18th century facing of mathematical tiles.

“But you may guess my feeling on seeing the surface receiving a new coat of that horrible chocolate-coloured tone.”

The Falstaff's frontage was previously more of a cream colour
The Falstaff's frontage was previously more of a cream colour

Dr Pragnell says he handed in several letters to the hotel management expressing his concerns but never received a reply.

He added: “The Falstaff is one of the most famous ancient hostelries in England, built in the late 14th century, even if its present name dates only from 1783, having previously been called the White Hart.

“Surely, as a listed building of such historical significance, it would need a listed building consent to apply a colour which materially changes the appearance of the building

“Is it too late for a rethink before one of Canterbury’s most celebrated buildings is desecrated once again?”

The society’s conservation advisor, architecture lecturer Keith Bothwell, has also emailed the city council to complain and questions why listed building consent was not sought.

How the Falstaff used to look
How the Falstaff used to look

A spokesman for the hotel said the owners were granted planning permission to repaint the property in June 2015 and it is now being repainted the same colour.

Council spokesman Rob Davies confirmed: “We approved plans for the frontage of The Falstaff back in 2015 and officers will visit this week to ensure the current work is in line with those plans.”

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