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Folkestone shellfish stall ordered to ditch shells by planners

Contributed by editor on Feb 21, 2009 - 06:00 PM

After three months decorating England’s best cockle and whelk stall with seashells in Folkestone, Tony Pye thought it fitted perfectly with its seaside surroundings reports the Daily Express.

But Shepway Council officials have ordered him to remove them, saying they are not in keeping with the location.

Council planning bosses said that the black-stained weatherboarding on his Folkestone harbour pitch was more “sympathetic to the appearance of the vicinity” than the shells.

57-year-old Mr Pye, who has worked in the area for 20 years, is furious after being told that his stall is “unsightly”.

“I spent days and days collecting the shells and gluing them on to the kiosk,” he said.

“Everyone who passes comments on how good the seashells look as opposed to the rather depressing simple black boards.”

“I was preparing for summer and hoped that the new design would help attract customers.

“To be told I have to take all the shells off now – after all my hard work – is depressing to say the least.”

A spokesman for the council said Mr Pye required planning permission for his decoration.

“The building is in a conservation area and the council has a duty to ensure that any works that need planning permission either preserve or enhance this,” he said.

“The shell cladding needs planning permission and the view of officers is that it detracts from the appearance of the harbour.”