Pakora Bar boss defies council over ‘intrusive’ paint job

The owners of Pakora Bar are involved in a planning row with the council after painting the outside of the restaurant. Picture: Pressteam
The owners of Pakora Bar are involved in a planning row with the council after painting the outside of the restaurant. Picture: Pressteam
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A CURRY house boss who painted his shop in the colours of the Indian flag has vowed to defy council bosses after they ordered him to repaint it.

Mark Singh, 34, and his brother Paul, 33, used their life savings to open The Pakora Bar in Edinburgh and have gathered rave reviews from customers and critics.

However the decision to add a splash of colour to the shop front prompted planners to label it ‘visually intrusive’ and demand it be changed.

The brothers spent £1000 to paint the shop green, orange and white to show the traditional colours of India.

But the council said the shop is ‘bright green’ although Mark insists it is an earthy green and fits in with the area.

Mark said the building on the city’s Hanover Street was previously a bland cream colour and claims he didn’t know he needed permission to change it.

He has now turned to the Scottish Government in a last ditch bid to keep the restaurant the way it is.

He said: “We didn’t know that you have to request permission to paint the shop.

“We are tied into a five year lease and we have to make it pay its way. We have to pay £30,000 a year in rent and £20,000 of rates on top of that.

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“We are two brothers who have invested our life savings into making this business to give us a living.

“We are Edinburgh born lads and this is our first business venture together.

“The colours represent the Indian national colours as we are selling Indian food but in our opinion its certainly not a bright green, its earthy green.

“Green, white and orange represent Indian national colours so we are asking to be allowed to keep these colours as we don’t have a budget or savings to paint or change to other colours.”

Mark pointed out other businesses on the street have painted their premises.

He added: “There are other shops that have very loud colours, you can’t miss them.

“A nearby Italian restaurant is white, red and green and again you can’t miss it.

“We’re just hoping for some common sense to be shown and hopefully we can keep on trying to grow our business.”

Planning officers at Edinburgh City Council wrote to Mark last month warning him to take action.

They said: “Without planning permission, the application of a green, orange and gold colour scheme to the principal elevation of the premises and application of green paint to the railings and steps of the premises.

“Prior to the application of the current paint scheme, the principal elevation, railings and the edges of the steps, had been painted in a cream colour scheme.

“The previous scheme was subtle in nature, and enabled the premises to maintain a suitable degree of uniformity within the streetscape.

“In contrast the most recent application of bright green paint, with orange and gold detailing, to the shopfront, railings and steps, is visually intrusive and alters the character of the listed building.

“As a result the development has harmed the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

A government reporter is expected to announce a decision next year.