1 Brunel Square, Bath
1 Brunel Square forms part of a Grade II* Victorian complex attached to Bath Spa Station. The building, now converted to commercial space, is characterised by the symmetrical glazed arched vaults in its frontage and the open character of Brunel Square. This site is consequently a positive, public contributor to Bath’s conservation area.
BPT objects to this application on the grounds of lack of sympathy with Bath’s historic character and shopfront aesthetic. The significant contribution of advertisements and shopfronts to the atmosphere and visual style of the streetscape has consequently resulted in expectations of high-quality designs, and materials that will respectfully enhance the city centre. Unfortunately this application falls short of the quality expected.
The use of illuminated signs and digital screens sharply conflicts with the established distinctiveness and significance of Bath’s conservation area and World Heritage site as a low-illuminated city. The proposed signage utilises inappropriate, synthetic materials, and should be amended to include high-quality, sympathetic alternatives such as wood or metal to adhere to Bath’s citywide characteristics. Furthermore, the means of securing the proposed signage and the impact this will have on the relevant historic fabric have not been specified.
We feel the proposed use of vinyl window stickers will be highly inappropriate due to their excessive size; the glazed vaults are a distinctively positive feature of the Grade II* listed building which would be significantly obscured and dominated by the proposed works. Furthermore, no mention of intended colours or designs for internal vinyl use could be found within the application.
The addition of umbrellas and planting to the external seating area will further add to Brunel Square’s material and aesthetic street clutter, eroding the city’s character whilst further obscuring Brunel Square’s listed façade. The development is located within a busy area of the city due to its proximity to both the train station and bus station; the obstruction additional street furniture would pose to pedestrians would further harm the public and spacious quality of the square.
The proposed scheme by virtue of the use of inappropriate colours and materials and the incorporation of further street clutter will erode the setting and aesthetic value of the Grade II* building as well as the ancillary surroundings of Brunel Square, consequently neither preserving nor enhancing the character and setting of the conservation area, and detract from the special qualities of the World Heritage site. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan Policies CP6, D1-D5, D8-D10, HE1, B1, B4, and BD1.