Five Guys, 8 Sawclose, City Centre
8 Saw Close is part of the 2017-2018 redevelopment of the Saw Close area. It is a predominantly pedestrian-friendly area within the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. 8 Saw Close is situated opposite several Grade II* Georgian buildings including the Theatre Royal and Beau Nash’s house, and is adjacent to the Grade II The Loft Club.
Whilst BPT does not oppose the use of outdoor seating in principle and appreciates that the layout and volume of external seating has been approved as part of application 18/04872/COND, we feel that this application is detrimental to the public realm due to the proposed impediment to pedestrians within the square. The location of seating will blockade significant portions of steps through the Saw Close complex, and will consequently result in some congestion of foot traffic with a resulting negative impact on the social quality and atmosphere of the area.
We additionally oppose the addition of further clutter into the public realm; we appreciate the use of non-branded umbrellas and breeze screens, but the scale, colour, and apparent permanence of the proposed street furniture will aesthetically and functionally block up an otherwise light and open space. We would therefore recommend that other styles of street furniture are considered, or that the breeze screens are spaced out to allow for gaps in between that prevent the uninviting visual effect of an unbroken, solid mass.
Whilst we do not object to the restrained and suitable usage of internal window vinyls on unlisted buildings, we feel that the proposed vinyls to the rear shop frontage of the building along Bridewell Lane are inappropriate in their scale and location, and will ‘deaden’ this portion of the conservation area that remains historically significant as a remaining indicator of one of Bath’s few surviving medieval streets. Considering the current ‘close’ atmosphere of the Lane, the installation of vinyls will further shut off the streetscape and remove an active street front from an already overlooked historic route through the city.
Ultimately, BPT feels that the scale, colour, and massing of the proposed outdoor seating areas are antisocial, and will be of direct detriment to the existing open and accessible atmosphere of this part of the public realm, whilst visually cluttering the setting of several Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings. The addition of full window vinyls along Bridewell Lane will further ‘deaden’ the streetscape, and close off interest within this historic region of the city. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Sections 12 and 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D9, D10, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn with better consideration for Bath’s public spaces and places.