Kiosk The Coachworks, 2 Long Acre, London Road, Walcot
2 Long Acre is a Grade II early 19th century building used as Vesey’s Coach Factory, later converted to use by the Bath Technical Institute in 1910. It is situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site and constitutes a notable four storey insertion within the predominately three storey grain of London Road. It sits adjacent to multiple Grade II terraces including 1-9 Walcot Terrace, 1-7 Walcot Buildings, Hawthorn House, and Hawthorn Cottage. The ground floor has now been converted to commercial use with a contemporary-style shop front with two symmetrical access points. Paintwork is restrained to the window frames, although it appears that the stone fascia and central two pilasters may have been painted white previously (see Google Street View 2018).
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. Whilst outside of Bath’s commercial core, the proposed shop frontage is 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.
Initially, some aspects of the proposed works are unclear. “White lettering” is proposed to the fascia advertising the occupier, but it isn’t specified as to whether this would be hand-painted, or metal individually-fixed lettering. We suggest that precise detailing is submitted with this application, and clarified with the case officer.
The proposed repainting of the shop front, which would include the painting of unpainted stonework along the pavement, upper cornicing, and pilasters in an unspecified black paint of indeterminate finish, risks harm to the heritage asset. We feel that the proposed painting in this colour and scale would be excessive and would visually dominate the frontage of a listed building as well as the wider listed streetscape. The boundary lines of the proposed shop front works cut through the centre of the pilasters; as a result, these would be half painted, half exposed, resulting in a messy and incongruous appearance and would subdivide 2 Long Acre’s frontage which as existing remains largely homogenous through its use of exposed Bath stone.
Within the conservation area, shop front treatments are predominantly restricted to the ground floor, with details such as cornicing acting as a buffer between a commercial ground floor and the residential upper floors. The painting of the upper cornicing would therefore be out of character with the established shop front appearance of the Bath conservation area. We maintain the need for a more recessive design approach which would better complement and harmonise with the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building. A dark grey may be a softer, less harsh colour selection than black; we suggest colour specifications are submitted to the case officer for clarity.
We question the need to remove the right-hand door and unbalance the existing symmetry of the shop front.
In its current form, this application would detract from Bath’s traditional shop front vernacular, would harm the appearance of a listed building, and would neither preserve nor enhance the appearance of the conservation area. It is contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan and should be refused or withdrawn.