5 Burton Street, City Centre, Bath
5 Burton Street is a Grade II mid-19th century terraced building, now sub-divided into offices with a ground floor retail unit and shopfront, 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. No. 5 occupies a critical junction point between Burton Street and Upper Borough Walls and forms the end-of-terrace elevation of Burton Street. It maintains a prominent four storey presence in the streetscape against its smaller, three storey neighbours, forming a strong and well-defined corner façade. Its alignment with the north-south axis of Union Street means the building’s principal façade forms the end point of longer ranging views from Stall Street towards Milsom Street. The shopfront is a 1971 addition which follows the curve of the building, which is a simple and almost-symmetrical addition to the building with large single pane windows and an unadorned timber fascia. Decoration is restricted to the shopfront edges with the addition of modest pilasters and corbels to replicate the adjoining shopfront designs.
The shop unit has been vacant for almost a year (with the exception of a pop-up occupier) and BPT is therefore strongly supportive of bringing the unit back into full-time use with resulting activation and enhancement of the commercial streetscape, as well as securing the sustainable future occupation and use of a listed building with associated ongoing maintenance and care.
The repainting of the shopfront in a black, non-gloss finish is considered to be acceptable. Where the colour proposed is RAL 9005 (Jet Black), it may be preferable to consider a softer or more subdued shade that would better complement the natural colour palette of the conservation area and its listed buildings.
The proposed addition of stainless steel pinned signage, where this is of an appropriate finish and high standard of design, is considered to be compatible with the wider shopfront character of the city centre and the conservation area. Further details regarding the proposed appearance and finish remain to be clarified.
We regret that we cannot support this application on grounds of the inappropriate installation of externally illuminated signage, where this would detract from the traditional appearance and material integrity of the listed building as well as harming the distinctive, low-illumination character and appearance of the wider Bath Conservation Area.
We further resist the proposed use of a stainless steel hanging sign where this would be out of keeping with the Bath’s shopfront and signage ‘vernacular’ and the visual amenities of the conservation area. Traditionally, hanging signs are hand-painted timber, of which there are existing examples along Upper Borough Walls. We therefore express a strong preference for the use of a hand-painted timber hanging sign as part of proposals to better reflect and reinforce the established streetscape character, and preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.
By virtue of the illumination aspect of proposals, the proposed signage would adversely impact the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building and would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area, contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.