4 Cheap Street, City Centre, Bath
4 Cheap Street forms part of a Grade II late 19th century section of terraced shops with upper floor accommodation, situated within the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The wider terrace of 3-6 Cheap Street is defined by its homogenous, balanced Bath stone ashlar façade with an architrave surround on the central first floor sash window and original pilastered detailing on the commercial ground floor to delineate each building’s shopfront. 4 Cheap Street is situated directly adjacent to the Grade II late 18th century shopfronted terrace at 15-20 Cheap Street and forms part of their contextual setting.
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 are supportive of the principle of hand-painted signage which reinforces the traditional shop front character of the conservation area. The reinstatement of the timber fascia with mouldings is sympathetic to the architectural interest of the listed building.
However, BPT resists the principle of illuminated signage. Part of the character of Bath is its low levels of artificial lighting which complement the historic character and appearance of the city, and create a distinctive evening and night-time atmosphere. Therefore, the use of illumination would be of detriment to the shared character of the Bath conservation area and the special qualities of the World Heritage Site, particularly considering the building’s location within the commercial, historic core of the Georgian city.
It is unclear as to why the existing projecting bracket on the first floor needs to be raised higher on the façade, and no further elaboration has been provided as part of the D&A/Heritage Statement. The relocation of the bracket would require new fixings into the stonework, resulting in irreversible damage to historic fabric. Paragraph 196 of the NPPF states that less than substantial harm to a listed building should be weighed against the public benefit of the proposal. We maintain that there is no additional public benefit gained by the re-fixing of the bracket, and the same amount of public benefit would be achieved by reusing the bracket as existing. This aspect of the scheme would therefore result in unjustified harm to a listed building and should be amended.
This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, D1, D2, D8, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. We strongly recommend that the illumination aspect of this scheme is omitted.