Jones Bootmaker, 19 Cheap Street, City Centre
19 Cheap Street is part of a Grade II street of shops in the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. This building is characteristic of Bath’s architectural tradition through its use of Bath stone ashlar and six over six timber sash windows, therefore positively contributing to the city’s distinctive Georgian character. The existing shopfront is particularly significant due to its prominence on both Cheap Street and Abbey Church Yard, adjacent to the Scheduled Roman Baths and Grade I Bath Abbey. Consequently, any external changes are required to be sensitive to the architectural value of the listed building as well as its historic environment.
The Trust does not object to the overall scheme, and encourages the regular maintenance of shopfronts to ensure the presence of high-quality signage in a good condition to better enhance Bath’s historic character.
However, BPT objects to the use of black window vinyls on the first floor. We feel this harms the appearance of a listed building and ‘deadens’ its façade. The orientation of these windows onto Abbey Church Yard means that this application will directly impact on the setting of the Scheduled Roman Baths and the Grade I Bath Abbey directly at the core of the World Heritage site. The Trust argues that the significance of 19 Cheap Street’s location has not been fully considered in relation to the proposed shopfront design. Furthermore, due to the enclosed nature of the street and the small size of the text featured on the vinyls, we can conclude that this form of advertising will likely be ineffectual, resulting in greater harm than benefit to the historic streetscape.
We would encourage the use of a more traditional material over the vinyl lettering proposed, as this will create a low quality aesthetic harmful to Bath’s prevailing traditional character.
The cumulative effect of inappropriate advertising risks harm to the appearance of Georgian architecture, which contributes to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.
We recommend high-quality, bespoke shopfront detailing that will complement and enhance listed buildings and their contextual streetscape. Consequently, we feel that the proposed hanging sign design has missed an opportunity to create greater visual interest by excluding features such as the current boot illustration.
Furthermore, the Trust has noticed that the proposed changes have already been implemented despite claims in the application form that works had not started.
We would also highlight that the existing hanging sign bracket has been replaced in a different design, the details of which have not been included within the current application. Therefore, this application would need to be resubmitted as retrospective with a complete summary of proposed works before any decision can be made. We would also ask that a more appropriate Heritage Statement is submitted to demonstrate the applicant’s understanding as to how the shopfront alterations will affect the listed, Grade II significance of 19 Cheap Street and its historic context.
Whilst this application is positive in principle, we feel that the use of low-quality signage materials and intrusive window vinyls neither preserves nor enhances the conservation area. This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Area) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1-D5, D9, D10 and HE1 and should be refused.