Hardys Original Sweet Shop, 26 Westgate Street, City Centre, Bath
26 Westgate Street forms one of a pair of Grade II early 19th century terraced houses, now with retail units and shopfronts at ground floor, situated within the historic centre of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. 25 & 26 Westgate Street are comprised of a pair of single bay 3 ½ storey terraced buildings in Bath stone ashlar with a double pitch mansard roof, marking part of the varied heights and form of the Westgate streetscape. They adjoin a number of Grade II buildings along the terrace, including the 18th century buildings at 24 & 27-29 Westgate Street as well as the 1920 Cannon Cinema. The Historic England description notes that the “ground floor has two late C19/ early C20 pilaster shopfronts with modern windows, retaining consoles and original fascia to No.25”; photographic evidence from the 1980s indicates that the timber shopfront at No. 26 was already in place, but the multi-pane treatment to the shop window and glazed door have since been replaced with larger panes of glazing. Whilst of an indeterminate date and having undergone a number of 20th century interventions, the existing shopfront remains a positive example of a traditional-style timber shopfront, retaining features such as a panelled stall riser also reflected in the design of the glazed door, moulded pilasters, and vertical glazing bars.
This application includes a brief reference to proposals for the redecoration of the shopfront in line with the proposed change of use. It is proposed to repaint the “timber frame” grey, although specifics as to the colour sample and finish have not yet been provided. However, the drawings indicate that the fascia would receive a different treatment, appearing to be finished in black; it is unclear as to whether this would be repainted in a contrasting colour or if proposals would include the fixing of a new fascia over the top of that existing. We are unable to offer in-depth comments at this stage without further information, but emphasise our strong preference that the existing timber fascia is refurbished and reused as appropriate.
No information is as yet provided regarding the material approach to the proposed fascia signage; we strongly encourage the use of hand-painted signage, in keeping with the existing signage treatment in situ on the building, as well as the wider character and appearance of the conservation area.
We maintain that further details are required as to the proposed treatment and appearance of the shopfront, either as part of this application or a forthcoming AR application, with consideration as to sustaining the visual amenities of the street scene and the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building.