Hardys Original Sweet Shop, 26 Westgate Street, City Centre
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.
BPT previously responded to application 22/02576/FUL requesting more information about the proposed treatment of the shopfront.
We are supportive of the proposed repainting of the shopfront in a light grey colour (RAL 7045) although it would be helpful to confirm the proposed finish. A matte finish is preferable to gloss to avoid an overly shiny or reflective appearance.
However, we have strong concerns regarding the proposed treatment of the fascia, including the proposed installation of “gloss black aluminium panels” and application of “mirrored effect silver vinyl” lettering.
The use of an aluminium fascia is a materially inappropriate intervention within the streetscape and would detract from the appearance of a Grade II listed building. The use of a gloss finish would be overly shiny in appearance and sharply contrast with the subdued characteristics of Bath’s traditional material palette (eg. Bath stone ashlar).
BPT is opposed to the use of acrylic signage in the conservation area. This type of signage tends to be overly chunky and heavy in appearance, and is of a distinct material contrast with the traditional material usage in this area. In the interest of visual amenity, we strongly recommend an alternative, more appropriate form of signage is considered – the use of hand-painted lettering, or quality metal lettering in an appropriate finish would be a quality harmonious with the heritage character of Bath’s historic shopping streets.
We similarly oppose the installation of an aluminium “box fascia” as a materially. It is unclear as to whether the proposed fascia would be of an increased thickness or project out from the building frontage without the provision of relevant sections, but we maintain that the use of overly thick or chunky signage would be a harmful addition to the conservation area. It is unclear as to why the existing fascia could not be retained and repainted as an established, close-fitting feature of the existing shopfront. We maintain that the proposed replacement fascia in its current design would not be considered acceptable and should be omitted.