Clintons, 13 St Lawrence Street, City Centre, Bath
13 St Lawrence Street is an unlisted commercial building which forms part of the Southgate development that was completed in 2010, utilising a distinctly Georgian-esque style of architectural design. It is situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The shopfront as existing does not feature illuminated signage. Whilst we appreciate the contemporary and eclectic nature of signage within Southgate, we strongly encourage the usage of high-quality signage and shop fronts in keeping with the wider historic character of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site and the historic setting of the city core.
BPT resists the principle of illuminated signage. Bath is recognised as a low-illuminated city in which the maintained low levels of lighting complement the historic character and appearance of the city, and create a distinctive evening and night-time atmosphere. Therefore, the use of illuminated signage would be of detriment to the shared character of the Bath conservation area and the special qualities of the World Heritage site, particularly when considering the shop’s prominent visual position along multiple pedestrian routes through the city centre from significant arrival points such as the train station and bus station.
The addition of two LED strip lights to the proposed fascia signage would be excessive and would be of adverse impact to the visual amenities of the conservation area. This harm would not be appropriately justified by public benefit.
We are additionally opposed to the use of acrylic ‘box’ signage in the conservation area. The signage would be overly chunky and heavy in appearance, and significantly protrude from the fascia. Whilst we acknowledge that the character of Southgate’s shopfronts are of a more contemporary and materially varied palette, we emphasise that new signage should remain congruous with the established quality material shopfront character of the Bath conservation area, which covers the city centre as a whole. We therefore strongly recommend that an alternative, more appropriate form of signage is considered – the use of hand-painted lettering, or quality metal lettering in an appropriate finish may be better in keeping with both Bath’s historic and contemporary shopping streets, of which there are precedents on St Lawrence Street.
There is an absence of relevant details relating to the proposed projecting sign; the proposed description does not match the initial drawing provided as part of the proposed side elevation of the shopfront. We maintain that the proposed appearance of the projecting sign needs to be clarified with the case officer. We remain opposed to the use of an acrylic finish and maintain a strong preference for hand-painted signage to sustain the distinctive hanging sign character and appearance of the conservation area.
We note that it is proposed to “replace plinths and stall risers in grey stone RAL 7016.” We suggest that a sample of the proposed replacement stone is provided to ensure that this is coherent with the established material palette of the conservation area, and sits harmoniously alongside the principal use of Bath stone.
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.