'It's grey!' Homeowners hit back at critics of semi-detached house painted 'black'

Harj Minhas and Ken Chan of Rent In Worcester
Harj Minhas and Ken Chan of Rent In Worcester painted the house anthracite grey but have been shocked at the negative reaction to their work (Image credit: Rent In Worcester)

The owner of a home painted in a dark colour dubbed “ugly” by local politicians has hit back at critics.

The £470k semi-detached in Worcester has split opinion among locals after the paint job and installation of fake grass – and some online commenters have compared it to a Miller and Carter steakhouse.

The owners were able to paint the house the controversial colour because they did not need planning permission from the local authority.

Why was the home painted black?

The property is owned by Harj Minhas and his business partner Ken Chan, who run the local property development, and they say they are surprised at the reaction to the painted house. 

Harj explained the house was rendered to make it more modern after it was purchased in a "dilapidated" state. He said: "We significantly refurbished the property and transformed it into what we believe to be quality student housing.

"The whole design and colour scheme was aimed at the student market, a very modern and unique house which university students would enjoy living in.

Harj says he is surprised by the media attention generated by them simply painting a house, adding: "The house was purchased some years ago and was a dilapidated ex-council property and, above all, an eyesore.

"In the avoidance of doubt, the property is partly rendered in an anthracite grey colour not black, as it is being made out to be. "

The design and colour scheme was aimed at the student market

The owner of the house says he is surprised by the negative media attention towards the work he has done to the house (Image credit: Harj Minhas and Ken Chan of Rent In Worcester)

Paint job garners split opinions

A local councillor, Pat Agar, told the MailOnline: “I think a lot of us think it looks pretty ugly. I don’t think we can refuse it because we think it’s ugly, but it certainly is ugly.”

Neighbour Donald Symonds, 87, said the colour is “horrible” and  “totally out of keeping with the area”.

However, other neighbours were fairly relaxed about it. Ros Marlow said, “I wouldn't like it for myself but it's not too bad,” while Richard Redwood said the owners did a “reasonable job”.

Houses being painted colours outside the norm and causing a ruckus is not uncommon. For example, heckles were raised when a homeowner paints house almost black in conservation area.

The householder in Henley-on-Thames frustrated locals with the bold look, with one claiming that "some homeowners do not understand the meaning and need for conservation."

However, the local council were powerless to stop the painting as they claimed "within a conservation area, there are no Article 4 directions" and so planning permission was not required.

Why did the council allow the paint work?

Worcester City Council say the renovations to the house is covered under permitted development rights.

A spokesperson said: “This building is not listed and it is not in a conservation area and therefore the external redecoration and choice of colour is not controlled by planning legislation and the building owner did not need to apply to the council for permission.

“However, we would encourage building owners to contact the council if they are thinking about changing the external colour or appearance of a building because in some circumstances this will require approval from the council.”

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.