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 is resistant to the installation of illuminated signage. We feel this is contrary to Bath’s low-level lighting and distinctive night time character, and would be of detriment to the setting of a listed building and the conservation area. Considering the site’s prominent location and semi-rural setting, the use of illuminated signage would be inappropriate. 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 within which commercial signage should remain ancillary and unobtrusive. We therefore encourage the consideration of a non-illuminated fascia alternative which would be less strident in appearance within this location.
We additionally have concerns regarding the proposed signage colours in bright red. Whilst there is existing signage on the site, this retains a recessive silver-grey colour palette which sits better against the Bath stone. The use of bright red is instead visually intrusive and would neither preserve nor enhance the natural, mellow appearance and character of the conservation area, and would be of harm to the setting of a Grade II listed building.
The proposal only includes the replacement of three signs, retaining several of the silver-grey signs and resulting in a discordant variety of signage across the site. We strongly recommend that signage should be of a defined design and style to ensure visual congruity to mitigate harm.
This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D8, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be withdrawn or refused.