Amorone Beau Nash House, 9 St John’s Place, Bath
This is an important Grade 11* listed building in a prominent position. The very fine porticoed original main entrance is at the side of the building. Whilst it is now less visible than when the building was first built, it would be quite wrong to downgrade this fine entrance into an enclosed courtyard. The 1761 sketch indicates that the entrance was, at least for a considerable time, open and not enclosed by railings with a stone base as proposed.
Notwithstanding that there is evidence that two doors existed in the front façade at different times, it should be recognised that the façade of the building has been carefully restored, in a scholarly manner, to a pattern close to its original appearance. The re-establishment of an entrance would unbalance the façade and would result in the loss of important features of its design, such as the continuous cill bands at ground and first floor windows which give the façade a strong unity. The sash window, which, although not original fabric, has been executed with notable authenticity and its removal would harm the significance of the building. There would be some benefit to the plan form of the building by the removal of the modern kitchen stair in the small ante-room. It is not clear how the kitchens are accessed from the plans, but it would seem that the removal of this stair and the restoration of this lovely panelled room could be done in any event, and it could serve as a small and charming private dining room.
The application also includes signage. As a matter of design principle, a proliferation of signs and poor quality objects (window boxes, barrels, smoking shed etc) on this frontage has served to devalue its setting and this could be at the heart of the restaurant’s problem. The window boxes and notices stuck to the inside of the windows obscure the interconnectivity between the potential customers and the interior. The additional signs and wall lights would only add clutter to the building. The Trust notes that signs 1 and 5 have been consented. On this basis, one simple menu board should suffice. It objects to sign 7 (railing mounted illuminated menu box) as one (sign 2) is sufficient. The Trust does not object to well designed window boxes, but does object to window boxes 3, 4, 6 and 8 as vehicles for adverts, which only adds to the visual clutter.
In summary, the proposed new entrance would harm the significance of the building, both architecturally and historically, and there would be no public benefit. Additional harm would be caused by the proposed railings and stone plinth which would obscure the historic plan organisation of the building. The proposed signs, which are additional to the approved signs would also harm the special architectural interest of the building. The proposal would therefore be contrary to PMP Policy HE1 and the policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, Section 16.