The owner of a tattoo parlour is challenging a council for demanding “retrospective planning approval” for a mural painted on the shop front.

Elite Tattoo and Piercing in St Thomas Street, Weymouth, is facing a lengthy battle with the borough council about a paint job which was approved in the new year.

More than six months since the mural – which depicts a flaming lantern – was finished the council say it now needs advertising and listed building consent or it must be removed.

Shop owner Philip Cornish said: “When I initially applied for planning permission they asked me if I was making any structural changes to the building, when I said 'no it’s just paint job', they said it was fine."

Mr Cornish employed an architect, at a cost of £1,500, to submit new plans to the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council planning committee which were refused in September.

He has now been issued with an order from the town enforcement officer to repaint the building white.

Mr Cornish said: "What’s angered me is that I didn’t just go ahead and paint it in the first place, I applied for planning permission and the council said it was fine.

"I’m just trying just to look after the building and brighten up the town. There is so much public support behind it, we are getting so many people coming in saying it’s wonderful."

The parlour now has eight weeks to appeal the advertising decision and six months to appeal the declined listed building licence.

Cllr Ray Nowak, the council’s spokesman for environment and sustainability, said: “Under normal circumstances, the repainting of a shop front would not require listed building or advert consent.

“However, in this case the painting of the shop has been done in such a way that it could be considered as an advertisement. Because of this, retrospective planning approval was needed.”

The mural has had a positive response on social media with many residents saying it is improving the image of the town centre.

Cllr Tia Roos agreed, saying she would like to see more buildings in the town centre taking up the idea.

She said: “I think the artwork they have had done is absolutely fantastic, it really is something special and completely unique.

“I was hoping the council would be more flexible with this one, I think it would be a shame if they are forced to remove it.”

Speaking at a meeting of the management committee, Cllr Kate Wheller said: “There’s an issue bubbling up in town at the moment and that is the very impressive paint job that’s been done on one of the businesses.

“The simple fact is that we want people to actively care for the buildings. It doesn’t cost any money at all for us to be more helpful.

“We need to be more supportive if we want growth. We haven’t been as helpful as we need to have been.”