AN ex-soldier has hit out at council staff who are demanding that he repaints his traditional beach hut in more ‘uniform’ colours.

Amputee John Sandford-Hart, of Mudeford, bought his hut at Friar’s Cliff five years ago, when it featured the same blue and white stripes that it does today.

However, Christchurch Borough Council workers have now contacted the 47-year-old to tell him he must change the colour scheme by April next year.

Mr Sandford-Hart, who lost his right leg following a boating accident but continues to run marathons for charity, said: “I do feel very strongly indeed about this.

“When I bought the beach hut, it was stripy. I repaint it in fresh colours every year to keep it looking nice and stripy. And now, for some unknown reason, I am being told that stripes are not ‘uniform’.”

The former Territorial Army soldier said he refuses to concede defeat, and will keep the property – which is named Felicity – stripy.

“It’s ridiculous, and I won’t have it,” he said.

“When I first bought Felicity, she looked the same as she does today. I just cannot understand where this is all coming from. I have asked them to give me one actual reason why I suddenly need to change the paint scheme, but they’ve been unable to do that, unsurprisingly.”

He added that stripes are often the first image people have of traditional beach huts.

“If it was painted some awful colour, or had graffiti over it, I would understand,” he said.

“But every year, I make sure it has been repainted, and it’s in lovely condition. It’s absolutely ludicrous.”

Judith Plumley, council head of community and leisure, said beach hut owners were informed two years ago that stripes were not permitted. “The decoration of huts is restricted to avoid contrasting styles which could be detrimental to the overall appearance of the beach huts and promenade,” she said.

“Having been fully informed of the council’s decisions and been allowed plenty of time to make very modest changes most owners have made the necessary modifications.”