12 Stall Street, City Centre, Bath
12 Stall Street is an unlisted terraced retail building, situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage. From map progression, it appears that a building of a similar footprint was present by the late 19th century, at a similar time to 13 Stall Street. A later date may also be further evidenced by the marked difference in architectural detailing across the principal façade of the terrace; 12-13 Stall Street feature pediment detailing over window reveals and pilasters running up the first and second floors, whereas the elevations at the Grade II 5-11 Stall Street are simpler in detail and articulation. 12 Stall Street features a large-scale ground floor timber shopfront which is likely 20th century in origin, and therefore of limited historic interest, but its timber construction and use of traditional-style detailing such as inset panelling and corbels contribute positively to the shopfront vernacular and character of the conservation area.
The commercial shopfront character and appearance of the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site is characterised by its retained vernacular appearance, use of traditional materials and construction methods, and bespoke design approach. Consequently, shop frontages are expected to adhere to planning guidance regarding the appropriate use of materials, colours, and a lack of illuminated signage, in keeping with the wider historic character of the city conservation area and World Heritage Site.
We acknowledge that no changes are being made to the existing painted finish of the shopfront (to be retained the same purple as previous occupier Ann Summers). However, the main doors have been repainted in a strident orange colour, which creates a discordant contrast of bold colours across the frontage at the wider detriment of the streetscape. Whilst there are a number of painted frontages along Stall Street which contribute to the visual vibrancy of the area, this is carefully balanced against the use of more muted colours that are coherent with the softer colour palette of Bath stone. Typically, shopfronts in this area are mono-colour to prevent an overly busy or strident appearance. We therefore strongly recommend that the doors are repainted to match the existing shopfront.
We oppose the proposed use of acrylic lettering, which would be at odds with the traditional, high quality appearance of shop frontages within the conservation area. We are resistant to the introduction of more overtly modern materials such as acrylic and plastic which provide an unwelcome, unsympathetic contrast with the established character and appearance of the area. The use of multi-coloured lettering further clutters the fascia and creates a busy appearance at odds with the simpler shopfront character of the area, and detracts from the setting of a number of listed buildings. We strongly recommend that other forms of signage are considered such as hand-painted lettering across the fascia. Where high quality metal or timber lettering is proposed, individually mounted lettering may be considered favourably as an acceptable alternative.
Shopfronts and signage within the Southgate area are characterised as more contemporary in typology, and are therefore not considered a desirable precedent for Bath’s historic streetscape. Existing examples of acrylic lettering on Stall Street are considered to have had an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the streetscape, and should not be considered justification for further cumulative harm to the established character and appearance of the conservation area.
As a retrospective application, we note that this acrylic signage is already in situ, and appears to be internally illuminated (please see images that have been circulated with the case officer). This is not referenced within this application. BPT maintains a strong objection to the principle of illuminated signage; this application should be amended to correctly describe the signage as proposed for the benefit of the case officer. Otherwise, it should be made clear that the existing illuminated signage is due to be removed or deactivated.
This application would not preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, and is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D8, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.