4 – 4A Burton Street, City Centre, Bath
4-4a Burton form part of a group of Grade II early 19th century terraced dwellings, now in retail use featuring shopfronts at ground floor, situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the indicative streetscape setting of a high concentration of Grade II terraced buildings on Burton Street, Old Bond Street, and at the southern junction with Union Street/Upper Borough Walls. The ground floor shopfront at No. 4 clearly references its neighbour at No. 3 in its use of traditional detailing, including the dentilled fascia cornice and scrolled corbelling, indicative of their original construction as a pair (Historic England). The varied design of the shopfront at No. 4, combining a curved multi-pane shopfront window with a squared-off frontage and pair of double doors to the left of the central door, is likely indicative of a series of later alterations. The date of the original shopfront insertion is unclear, although it may have been in use as a grocer by the late 19th century (“GRO”, 1887-1902 Goard Insurance Plans). Nevertheless, the shopfront remains a positive contributor to the commercial streetscape due to its traditional material appearance and finish, as well as its shared group value with the neighbouring shopfront at No. 3.
The shop unit has been vacant since late 2020.
BPT therefore welcomes the opportunity to bring back an empty shop unit into use, with benefits including the ongoing maintenance and repair of a Grade II listed building and the reactivation of this area of streetscape, which would preserve and enhance the visual and public amenities of the conservation area.
The proposed repainting of the shopfront is acceptable, where this is in a colour which would suitably complement the natural stone palette of the listed building façade. We maintain a strong preference for the use of a matte finish as opposed to gloss to prevent an overly shiny or reflective appearance.
We support the proposed use of hand-lettered painted signage across the fascia, in keeping with Bath’s traditional signage ‘vernacular’.
We note plans include the proposed replacement of the existing awnings, but no further details have been provided regarding the proposed design or material finish. The use of a quality canvas awning in a complementary colour is encouraged. The use of a plastic or vinyl awning would result in a sharp visual contrast with the material qualities of the listed building and would be of detriment to the sustained character and appearance of the conservation area, and as such would not be supported. We also express a preference for a blank awning without the addition of further branding or advertising where this can have a cluttering effect on the appearance of the building. We therefore suggest that further details are submitted regarding the awning; it may be helpful to include proposed elevations in which the awning is ‘open’ to better illustrate its proposed appearance within its context.
We encourage the awning to be closed, and sit flush with the shop front, when not in use (ie. outside of opening hours).
BPT does not typically comment on internal alterations without the benefit of a site visit. However, in this instance we have some further questions regarding the proposed treatment of the vaults as part of this application. The proposed basement floor plan indicates the proposed use of a “hygiene cladding” to the internal walls “to be full height and to be fixed with adhesive mapei waterproof fix” without further material specifications or details regarding the existing basement walls. Bath’s vaults and basements are naturally damp and poorly-ventilated spaces, and particular care should be taken regarding the compatibility of internal interventions to ensure that these do not exacerbate existing damp or condensation issues with resulting detriment to the condition of historic fabric. We trust that this aspect of the scheme will be investigated further by the case officer.