Bath Honda, Prior Park Road, Widcombe, Bath
Bath Honda occupies a Grade II mid-18th century former mill building or warehouse, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the quasi-rural setting of Bath, heading south along Prior Park Road out to the Grade I Prior Park. The original mill ponds are located to the immediate east of the site. The garage occupies an open, unobscured position in the bend of the road with a traditional boundary treatment of coursed rubble stone with cock ‘n’ hen capping. Works are concentrated to the car park and the single storey late 20th century workshop building attached to the Grade II three storey building, and therefore does not constitute an alteration to historic fabric, although part of the connecting wall may date earlier to the original mill complex.
BPT objected to previous applications 21/03864/AR and 21/02371/AR on grounds that the proposed signage in a bright red colour would be visually intrusive within the conservation area and the setting of a Grade II listed building. We note that application 21/03864/AR was recently dismissed at appeal on similar grounds.
BPT is therefore supportive of the much-improved design and colour palette of the proposed signage. The finish of all signage in dark grey/black would result in a more visually recessive and subdued finish. We consider this use of a more neutral colour palette would ensure signage would sit more comfortably within the setting of a listed building.
We note that the drawing annotations refer to a “red aluminium trim” which does not appear to be illustrated in the drawings as provided. We therefore ask for further clarity on this aspect of the revised design.
It remains proposed to install an internally-illuminated fascia across the garage frontage. We maintain that BPT is resistant to the principle of illuminated signage where this would be contrary to Bath’s distinctive, low-level lighting character and night-time appearance. The Prior Park Character Appraisal describes the night time character of the area as “subdued” due to it being largely residential, and notes the green, rural appearance that forms part of the historic development of the area. We maintain that illuminated signage within this lower density, green area of Bath would be intrusive and therefore encourage consideration of a non-illuminated fascia alternative.
It is presumed that the proposed signage would replace the existing, unauthorised signage finished in red that has already been installed on the site (by November 2021 at the latest). However, we highlight that other examples of silver/light grey signage are present on the site but are not referred to within the application, leaving some ambiguity as to whether these will be removed or retained. The retention of existing signage would result in a discordant variety of signage across the site. We therefore recommend that all on-site signage should be of a defined design and style to ensure visual congruity to mitigate harm.