A "patriotic" landlord and his regulars say they are disappointed after a pub was forced to remove a St George’s cross painted on the front of the building.

Landlord Mark Hunter, who runs The Bell pub in Primrose Hill, Kings Langley, painted the England flag on the building to mark this year's St George’s Day on April 23 this year.

But officials at Three Rivers District Council asked Mr Hunter remove the painted cross because they said the pub was a listed building.

Mr Hunter said: “I first put it up simply for St George’s Day and was going to take it down afterwards, but everyone really liked it so we kept it up.

“We had it up for six months, but then someone complained saying it was offensive.

"I never intended to offend anyone.

“I am a very patriotic person. A lot of people celebrate St Patrick’s Day, which is Irish, but no-one does St George’s Day as much, so I wanted to celebrate it.”

Mr Hunter, who is originally from Nottingham, added that there was always some sort of celebration or parade for St George’s Day in his home town, but found people did not celebrate it as much when he moved to Kings Langley.

The pub landlord was surprised when he learnt that his actions constituted a "change" to the listed building and therefore breached planning rules.

According to Three Rivers District Council's planning policy, listing historic buildings protects England’s heritage for future generations and helps preserve the character of the village.

Listed building consent is required to carry out any work that affects any historic listed building and this can include painting it.

Mr Hunter said: “I did not know that consent was required.

"This is a great Tudor pub and I am gutted that the St George's cross had to be taken down.

“There are a lot of people who drink in here and I did not have one person complaining about it - in fact, when we put up the photo on Facebook it went viral, with lots of people commenting saying how much they liked it.

“We thought that because the pub faces an industrial estate rather than residential homes it would be okay.”

Martin Geary, of Hyde Lane, Kings Langley, is a regular at The Bell.

He said: “I really liked the St George’s cross on the front of the pub and so did a lot of the other regulars - it is a shame it had to be taken down."