An Ullapool restaurant ordered by Highland Council to remove the white paint partially covering its outside wall can now go ahead and paint the entire wall.
The Seaforth Bar and Restaurant on Quay Street appealed Highland Council’s decision in April that the whitewashed section of the wall beneath the seating area of the restaurant had to be restored to the natural stone underneath.
A row broke out in the town after the owners began whitewashing the wall, and work was stopped by council officials because the wall was within a conservation area of the fishing port and required planning permission.
Planners had recommended allowing the work to continue because it did not breach any planning policies and they considered it would have a “neutral effect on the setting of the building within the conservation area”.
Councillor Margaret Paterson swayed the debate at the planning committee with a motion to have the paint removed.
She said: “I would like to move that the wall be kept the way it is, it’s in a conservation area, it’s a beautiful wall, the craftsmanship is to be admired and it’s a sacrilege to paint it white.”
Scottish Government reporter Keith Bray said: “I appreciate the Seaforth Inn has an identity in the settlement.
“Based on the representations made, it is of interest within the local community.
“However, the building complex as a whole does not appear to me to offer any particular historic or architectural quality which adds to the character of the conservation area.
“Such a conclusion also reflects advice provided by the planning and historic environment advisors of the council.”
Some locals said the white-washed wall would be an “eyesore” and the natural stone wall should not be “defaced by painting”.
In his report Mr Bray said: “I find the scale and nature of the wall, if painted white, would have an ‘at worst’ neutral effect on the character of the conservation area and
on Shore Street in particular.
“A white painted wall would assimilate it within the street, clearly define the western corner of the junction, and would not in my view result in overemphasising the mass of the existing building.
“The use of white paint is not out of character on Shore Street buildings.”
He ordered that white paintwork be applied to the wall which “shall be maintained as such in perpetuity”.
The owner of the hotel has been contacted for comment.