Fabulous, 17 St Lawrence Street, City Centre, Bath
17 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, but forms a dual frontage on the corner of St Lawrence Street and Philip Street, overlooking Southgate Place. 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 a key pedestrian route through the city centre from significant arrival points such as the train station and bus station.
We are resistant to the excessive use of digital and LED displays in shop windows where this would contribute further illumination and be visually over-dominant in the streetscape due to typically bright and flashy visuals.
BPT highlights the steady number of permitted applications for illuminated signage within this part of the city (see 22/00187/AR, 21/05430/FUL, 21/02644/AR), with similar upcoming proposals for illuminated signage (see 22/01686/AR). Whilst the character of Southgate does allow for more contemporary forms of signage and shopfront treatments, we maintain strong concerns regarding the overall cumulative impact of this increasing volume of illumination and the resulting impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area and the commercial centre of the World Heritage Site. We maintain that Southgate should remain a coherent extension to the historic city core to the north; the use of excessive illumination is an increasingly intrusive and jarring addition that serves to further disassociate the Southgate shopping district from its surroundings.
We are additionally opposed to the use of acrylic signage in the conservation area, and indicate a strong preference for more sympathetic alternatives such as quality metal lettering in an appropriate finish. We additionally refer to positive examples of hand-painted signage along St Lawrence Street as a signage approach more congruous with the established quality material shopfront character of the Bath conservation area, which covers the city centre as a whole.
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.