Andrew Lloyd Webber angers Westminster Council with Adelphi paint job

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Black paint added to the outside of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End theatres for his new musical Love Never Dies is "unacceptable" according to Westminster Council planning officers.

The black paint, which currently covers the façade of the Grade II-listed Adelphi Theatre on the Strand, is the subject of a review by Westminster Council's planning sub-committee this Thursday.

Council officers have recommended to this committee that the council refuses the application to retain the paint made by Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group. However, the committee, which consists of councillors, is independent and can reach its own conclusions.

The officers' report states: "The works have changed the character and appearance of the theatre and harmed its special architectural and historic interest and the character and appearance of the Covent Garden Conservation Area."

Westminster Council has consulted a number of interested parties on the issue, including English Heritage and Theatres Trust. English Heritage objected to the proposal but the Theatres Trust said it would support the application for the duration of the show providing the theatre's original appearance was restored afterwards.

Although the final decision will be made by the council committee on Thursday, the report includes a draft decision letter. It states: "It is a criminal offence to carry out work on a listed building without our consent. We will be pursuing enforcement action for the removal of the black paint finish following receipt of an agreed methodology statement as to how the works will be reversed without harming the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building and its fabric."

If the decision goes against the RUG, it can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

The current Adelphi Theatre was designed by Ernest Schaufelberg in art deco style in the 1930s.