Hereford & Worcester

Bewdley NHS rainbow door gets reprieve

The Hemmings in front of their colourful door Image copyright Sara Hemmings
Image caption Photos of the door have been shared widely on social media

A family who painted the arch around their front door in tribute to the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic have been told it needs to be removed.

The Hemmings, from Bewdley, said they wanted to "make people smile" by painting the rainbow.

Photos of the door have been widely shared on social media and in the local press.

But Wyre Forest District Council said listed building rules meant the paintwork could not remain.

Pictures of rainbows started springing up in windows to celebrate the NHS in March, with the Hemmings painting their tribute on their Grade II listed house in April.

Earlier this month, the local authority wrote to say it had been made aware of the rainbow and that it had "a substantial visual affect (sic)" in what was a conservation area.

It initially gave the family until Sunday to make the changes, but later on Friday said it could remain until September, a date earmarked by the family.

The Hemmings had said they wanted to keep it until the schools return, to mark the end of lockdown, when the door would be returned to its previous white colour.

Image copyright Sara Hemings-Horsey
Image caption Wyre Forest District Council wrote to the family in June calling for the paintwork to be "rectified within 14 days"

Sara Hemmings described the reprieve as "brilliant news".

"The council have listened to everyone and have been fantastic in allowing the rainbow to stay for longer. A big thank you to them," she said.

"We were so shocked and sad someone would complain about the door when it's been bringing so much joy.

"It's horrible to have this letter without them coming to have a chat to us first."

Mrs Hemmings said she had received about 500 messages of support.

Until the council's reprieve, the family had been planning a cake sale at the weekend before repainting it. So far they have raised about £600 for Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Councillor Fran Oborski said the property was part of an important group of listed buildings.

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