8-10 Old Bond Street, City Centre, Bath
8-10 Bond Street form part of a Grade II late 18th century terrace of houses, now with commercial ground floors, at 5-10 Old Bond Street, situated within the city core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. 8-10 Bond Street form a singular shop unit on the south end of the terrace facing onto Upper Borough Walls opposite the Grade II* Mineral Hospital, and consequently features a dual shop front across its south and west elevations, with an additional shop front window opening on its east elevation. Historic photographs from the 1960s and earlier show the shop door in the south elevation to have previously been located to the left hand side, rather than centralised as at present.
BPT previously responded to application 21/01028/LBA regarding the insertion of new shop front windows on the east elevation, as well as application 21/02222/FUL for outdoor café seating along the side and front elevations of the building. Both applications have been granted consent.
Proposals now include plans for tables and chairs (seating capacity 26) along the east, west, and south elevations, where it was previously proposed to allocate a higher seating capacity of 32 along the east and south elevations (see 21/02222/FUL). We therefore reiterate our previous comments regarding the need to suitably constrain outdoor seating to maintain a positive balance between pedestrian/pavement user accessibility and the commercial activation of the streetscape, particularly where this intersects with the World Heritage Site wayfinding monolith. The overall reduction in outdoor seating capacity from the previous scheme is welcome, although we highlight that there may be a higher risk of conflict with pedestrian accessibility on Old Bond Street where the footway is more constrained.
The majority of internal works proposed have already been granted consent as part of application 21/01028/LBA. However, we note that it is now proposed to install a kitchen at basement level, with “Accesses to the cloisters are to be walled off and sealed.” This appears to refer to the adjacent vault spaces which would be closed off from the central basement to facilitate the installation of kitchen counters along the internal face of the east wall. BPT cannot comment further without the benefit of a site visit although we do have concerns regarding the potential, permanent closing off of the building’s vaults and recommend that this is looked into further by the case officer.
The principle of new window openings on Burton Street has already been established in application 21/01028/LBA.
We are supportive of the repainting of the shopfront in a suitably recessive paint colour, and recommend a matt finish is used to mitigate against the overly reflective finish of a gloss paint.
The proposed addition of aluminium 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 Bath Conservation Area. However, Old Bond Street is characterised by its distinctive mix of eclectic shop frontages and use of traditional hand-lettered fascias, which has created an attractive, almost self-contained streetscape of Bath’s commercial ‘vernacular’. Nos. 8-10 previously used hand-lettered signage and we therefore express a strong preference for the continued use of hand-lettered signage to sustain the visual amenities of Old Bond Street.
In the interest of sustaining and reinforcing the significance of the listed building and the character and amenity of the conservation area, the proposed hanging signs should be hand-painted. Where possible, a bespoke metal sign bracket finished in black should be utilised.
We regret that we cannot support this application on grounds of the inappropriate installation of 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.
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.