Friends Takeaway, 3 New Street, City Centre, Bath
3 New Street forms part of a Grade II early 19th century stepped terrace of houses, now with commercial ground floors, situated within the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. 3 New Street forms a central part of the terrace with a rendered Bath stone ashlar façade with matching raised platband surrounds that run across the terrace as a uniform whole, with a “19th century pilaster shopfront” (Historic England listing, 2010) and corniced timber fascia along the ground floor.
The commercial shopfront character and appearance of the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site is enhanced by its retained vernacular appearance, use of traditional materials and construction methods, and bespoke design approach. Consequently, shop frontages are expected to conform to relevant guidance regarding the appropriate use of materials, colours, and a lack of illuminated signage, in keeping with the wider historic character of the city conservation area and World Heritage Site.
We note that a listed building application has not been validated for the proposed material alterations to a listed building. As the proposed shopfront changes “would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest” (Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990), we anticipate the submission of an appropriately detailed listed building application to assess the heritage impact of the proposed works.
The building has previously been subject to unauthorised, inappropriate signage alterations, including window vinyls, a hanging sign, and an acrylic fascia sign. These have since been replaced by the existing signage, for which this application seeks retrospective consent.
We are generally unsupportive of unauthorised works to listed buildings or within the historic environment, and emphasise the need to secure appropriate consent before works can commence.
We consider that the proposed signage is a significant improvement on the previous unauthorised signage. We are pleased to see that more harmful features, such as the printed acrylic fascia, have now been omitted.
However, BPT continues to oppose the proposed use of acrylic individually pinned lettering which would be of detriment to the special architectural and historic of a listed building and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area. The use of overtly contemporary materials such as acrylic is not compatible with the material palette and appearance of the listed building and the traditional shopfront character of the city centre. Acrylic lettering would therefore result in a jarring visual contrast with the attractive qualities of the historic shopfront and the wider appearance of the building.
The proposed use of a vinyl-faced hanging sign is similarly not appropriate within this context.
We maintain a preference for the use of hand-lettered painted signage as a more traditional alternative that reinforces the visual amenities of the conservation area.
We have concerns with the use of a large-scale window vinyl to advertise the name of the premises. Vinyls should be used as a secondary form of signage that reinforces the primary signage at fascia level. As a result, the shop frontage appears overly cluttered and detracts from the appearance of the listed building. We therefore recommend that the window vinyl is either omitted or a simpler, more visually recessive design is proposed.
This application would not preserve or enhance the appearance of the conservation area and would be of detriment to the special interest of a listed building, contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.