5 Old Bond Street, City Centre
5 Old Bond Street forms part of a Grade II late 18th century terrace of townhouses, now with ground floor commercial units and shopfronts, situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It strongly contributes to the grouped value and streetscape setting of a high concentration of Grade II terraced buildings along Old Bond Street, Burton Street, and New Bond Street. 5 Old Bond Street forms the northern end of the terrace with a triple retail frontage that forms the intersection between Old Bond Street and New Bond Street. It clearly aligns with the north-south slope of the 19th century shopping street of Milsom Street, where the majority of buildings are now individually Grade II or Grade II* listed of Milsom Street; as such it features as a significant focal point in views from Edgar Buildings and serves as a transition point into the city’s Roman and medieval core. The ground floor shopfronts are attributed to the early 19th century with significant later 19th century alterations, such as the removal of the principal shop access from the Old Bond Street elevation.
We note that shopfront works have already been undertaken and this application is therefore retrospective. BPT does not support unauthorised works to listed buildings and we maintain that the appropriate consent should be secured before works go ahead.
The proposed photo visuals are misleading as they show the proposed lettering applied over the top of the existing painted shopfront, insinuating the retention of the shopfront and fascia as existing. We strongly suggested that these are amended to align with the proposed scope of works for the benefit of clarity.
There is now a flower garland in situ on the northern elevation which frames the ground floor shopfront. Whilst this does not form part of the planning application, we note that any means of material fixing into the shopfront or stonework should be included as part of this application.
BPT strongly opposes the proposed use of acrylic individually pinned lettering which would be of detriment to the special architectural and historic of a listed building and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area. The use of overtly contemporary materials such as acrylic is not compatible with the material palette and appearance of the listed building and the traditional shopfront character of the city centre. Acrylic lettering would therefore result in a jarring visual contrast with the attractive qualities of the historic shopfront and the wider appearance of the building.
We maintain a preference for the use of hand-lettered painted signage as a more traditional alternative that reinforces the visual amenities of the conservation area. We refer to the number of positive examples of hand-painted commercial signage present along Old Bond Street as part of a varied and eclectic historic streetscape. Hand-painted signage would also mitigate the need for individual pinning and consequent loss of historic shopfront fabric.
We additionally have some concerns regarding the proposed repainting of the shopfront in a pale pink colour. We emphasise the need for the use of colours that complement and harmonise with the existing muted colour and material colour palette of the Bath conservation area. A more subdued approach has been utilised at the existing ‘Sweet Little Things’ premises on Lower Borough Walls which may be better suited to this highly visible building on a key historic shopping street.
We strongly recommend the use of a painted matt finish as a less strident and reflective alternative to gloss paint.
In its current form, this application would harm the special historic and architectural interest of a listed building and would not 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, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be withdrawn or refused.