5 – 6 Seven Dials, Sawclose, City Centre, Bath
We note that this forms one of a pair of very similar application for banner adverts in the Sawclose area, within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The second application (see 22/04708/AR) is in relation to the neighbouring premises at 3 – 4 Seven Dials, currently occupied by The Oven. As existing, both premises currently use barriers to delineate their outdoor seating space from the wider public realm of Sawclose. Across both premises, it appears that former examples of barrier signage were fixed in placer using adjoining elements of public furniture, in this case bollards, and featured a mix of branding across what appeared to be printed fabric/PVC. It has been suggested that these barriers were previously non-removable and remained in situ outside of opening hours, although we trust this will be confirmed by the applicant if necessary.
We recognise that there is an opportunity to regularise the signage treatment within this area of the conservation area to ensure a more cohesive presence within the street scene.
However, BPT maintains that the use of plastic barriers would be out of keeping with the high visual amenity value and natural, traditional material palette of the area, and we continue to express a strong preference for the use of canvas barriers where these would be more sympathetic to the traditional aesthetic and material quality of the conservation area.
Where possible, we encourage that signage branding is minimised to mitigate the effect of visual ‘clutter’ within the streetscape, and ensure an appropriately recessive appearance within the setting of a number of listed buildings in Sawclose (see the Grade II Regency Public House, now Century Casino, directly opposite).
We further note that from the photographs provided, it is unclear as to how the proposed barriers would be fixed in situ, as well as whether these continue to use aspects of public street furniture as supports. We therefore recommend that further details are provided regarding this aspect of proposals and continue to encourage that new barrier signage should be more temporary in nature, ie. freestanding, so this may be removed and stored away when appropriate such as outside of opening hours.
We refer to B&NES Council’s guidance on ‘Commercial signage and tables and chairs on the highway’, in which it is advised that barriers around outdoor eating areas “should be of railed construction either vertical or horizontal […] Any advertising on barriers is unlikely to be acceptable”. It is additionally recommended that a management plan should be provided regarding the storage of street furniture outside of operating hours.