Hollister, 13 Southgate Place, City Centre, Bath
13 Southgate Place 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. Whilst we appreciate the contemporary and eclectic nature of signage within Southgate, we strongly encourage the usage of high-quality signage and shopfronts in keeping with the wider historic character of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site and the historic setting of the city core.
The principle of increasing the size of the over-door signage is felt to be acceptable, considering the existing size of fascia signage on adjoining premises. In comparison, no. 13’s fascia is noted to be unusually small due to be being limited to an over-door position, rather than across the whole frontage.
We express a strong preference for the use of signage that is materially coherent with the historic city centre, such as timber or metal lettering in an appropriate finish. The proposed use of acrylic-faced signage would introduce an unwelcome material into the conservation area with detriment to its overall shopfront character and appearance.
However, 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.
The existing shop premises utilises individually-pinned lettering which is not currently illuminated. It makes use of its shopfront window display to maximise its street presence, and is located within the central plaza of the Southgate district, which has a well-established pedestrian presence and also follows the access route between the city centre and the train/bus stations to the south. The addition of illuminated signage would therefore result in a very limited increase in commercial and associated public benefit, which would not appropriately outweigh further harm to the visual amenities of the conservation area and World Heritage Site.
There is an increasing number of permitted applications for illuminated signage within this part of the city. 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.
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.