4-5 Lambridge Buildings, Larkhall, Bath
Lambridge Buildings forms part of a Grade II mid-19th century buildings with commercial ground floors and shopfronts, and residential upper floors, situated within the Larkhall character area of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms a significant part of Larkhall’s localised high street with associated high social significance. There is some variety in building height and roof articulation in this area, and the three storey stepped massing of this terrace therefore remains visually striking in views along St Saviour’s Road. The elevational treatment is minimal with a one bay form in Bath stone ashlar, with a greater diversity seen on ground floor level in the mixed style of shopfronts. It is worth highlighting that Historic England has identified the shopfronts at 3, 4, and 5 Lambridge Buildings as “good an unaltered examples” of their kind and therefore retain a heightened evidential and material value within the streetscape.
Due to the building’s location within the Bath conservation area, prominent position along a local high street, and retained use of traditional shop front vernacular, the shop frontage is expected to comply with relevant guidance regarding the appropriate use of materials, colours, and a lack of illuminated signage, in keeping with the wider historic character of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site.
We recommend further details are provided regarding the colour sample selected for painting the shopfront. The building frontage is currently painted white, and therefore clarification as to whether repainting will be ‘like for like’ in colour shade and finish is advised.
We note that there is an absence of hanging signs in this area, and there is additionally no hanging sign at the existing premises at 2 Beaufort Place, although there is one example of a hanging sign at The Beaufort Bookshop with a bespoke-style curling metal bracket. We therefore question the suitability of introducing further hanging signs along this street where this does not appear to be a typical shopfront feature with resulting harm to historic fabric through the fixing of a new bracket to external stonework.
However, should the principle of a hanging sign be considered acceptable, we emphasise that this should be in a traditional style, material, and finish to sustain and enhance the established character and appearance of the conservation area. The use of a PVC hanging sign is therefore not considered to be appropriate and should be omitted for a more suitable example, such as hand-painted timber. The proposed hanging bracket is overtly contemporary in style in sharp contrast with the vernacular shopfront treatment of the street and would be of detriment to the appearance of a listed building; we emphasise the need for a bespoke approach, and refer to The Beaufort Bookshop as a more sensitive design solution.
The proposed hanging sign and bracket design would therefore be of detriment to the appearance of a listed building and would not preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. We therefore recommend that this aspect of the application is appropriately amended or omitted.