Buddhist couple who made listed house ‘look like a Co-op’ may have to restore it


Malvern residents are at odds over whether the ‘garish’ new colour should stay or go

A Buddhist couple accused of making a Grade II-listed building look ‘cheap and tacky’ may be forced to restore its original look if they lose a planning permission battle.

Kaspa Thomson, 40, and his wife Satya Robin, 46, trustees at a charity which owns the 19th-century guest house in Malvern, Worcestershire, have spent the last seven years converting it into a temple.

The Bright Earth Buddhist Temple board spent £6,500 re-rendering and repainting the front of the building in March.

It now sports a bright turquoise trim on each level including the roof, which one local says makes it look like a Co-op supermarket.

The charity trust failed to seek permission for the makeover, and have submitted a retrospective application with Malvern Hills Council.

If rejected, they will have to repaint over the turquoise with the original dark red colour which had existed since the house was built in 1820.

In their application, the trustees said turquoise represents ‘awakening and wisdom’ in Buddhist colour theory.

They added: ‘For this community – where there is a strong impulse for taking care of the earth – the blue also stands in for the predominant colour of the earth as seen from space.

The building was painted with a dark red trim when it was built in 1820 (Picture: SWNS)
The former guest house officially became a Buddhist temple in 2015 (Picture: SWNS)

‘The proposed works will restore the integrity of the render and restore the appearance of the front of the building into a good condition.

‘The new highlight colour is an attractive highlight to the existing building and does not detract from any special interest of the site.’

But one resident said: ‘The new paint job looks awful and is not in keeping with the area.

‘You can see the bright blue roof looming up at you as you drive past the building and at first I thought they’d opened up a new Co-op.

‘The building is in the historic area of Malvern with stunning views so it attracts a lot of visitors but I have to say the new paint job makes it look cheap and tacky.’

Another added: ‘Whilst I appreciate the application is from a Buddhist temple and turquoise is a colour they use, I feel the turquoise colour is not at all in keeping with the surrounding buildings in the road.

Mr Thompson and his wife Satya have spent years converting the building (Picture: SWNS)

‘All other buildings and shop are painted in much more subdued colours which partly reflect how the buildings would have been when originally constructed.

Dozens of messages have been submitted to the council supporting the temple’s new colour scheme.

One wrote: ‘I drive past this place daily and think it really brightens the area up, with all the banks and shops closing nearby and lying derelict this really brightens the place up.

‘I cannot see a problem with this and believe this should be approved as this place offers so much for the community.

A final decision will be issued next month.

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