Loch Fyne Fish Restaurant, 24 Milsom Street, City Centre, Bath
24 Milsom Street is a Grade II mid-19th century former bank, now restaurant, situated within the commercial core of the Bath City-Wide Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It forms a significant corner frontage on the junction of George Street and the top of Milsom Street and forms part of the setting of a high concentration of Grade II and Grade II* terraced buildings. It is one of a pair of mid-19th century former bank buildings with 23 Milsom Street (also Grade II listed), although they are credited to different architects and are not architecturally homogenous. Whilst the main focus of works is largely on internal refurbishment, the building is attributed high significance due to its imposing scale and prominent streetscape appearance, and the quality of detail across its ornamental façade. The building, previously in use as a mixed-use restaurant and hotel, has now been vacant for several years.
Applications 22/02367/FUL & 22/02558/LBA have been granted planning permission/listed building consent for the change of use of the building to a public house, with the retention of the hotel rooms across the upper floors.
Applications 22/02222/LBA & 22/02216/AR were separately granted consent for the addition of new signage fixed to the existing runner bars to the front of the building. However, application 22/02222/LBA previously proposed the installation of a projecting sign, prior to submission of revised drawings, to which BPT objected in principle on grounds of harm to a high significance group of listed buildings, and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area.
We encourage the applicant to find sensitive ways to advertise the business and we would be willing to assist with direct advice. We acknowledge that a hanging-style sign is now proposed, but this would be of a similar material treatment and design to that previously proposed, incorporating an aluminium panel with a vinyl-applied display.
The use of a modern metal bracket, the position, and projection of this proposed sign is inappropriate and would damage the compositional group value, historic views and overall setting of Milsom Street. The addition of a projecting sign would clutter and detract from the classical-inspired High Victorian façade, and intrude into the sweeping views of the street with harm to the special group value of the streetscape. The sign would not improve the appearance of the principal elevation of the building and therefore not enhance the character of the street scene.
The projecting sign would harm the architectural and aesthetic significance of the listed building and the setting of other listed buildings, and would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area. Milsom Street, along with Edgar Buildings to the north, form a significant 18th century set piece with framed north-south views between the elevated pavement of Edgar Buildings and the shops at Old Bond Street, backed by receding hillside views in the distance. It is therefore attributed high significance as a well-planned Georgian ensemble, strongly defined as an intentional visual connector between the upper and lower town, and well-articulated Palladian detailing.
The use of external illumination would be of detriment to the appearance of a listed building and the distinctive, low-lit character and appearance of the city centre, and should be resisted.
There is little justification for the approach for this type of signage when there is existing consent for signage that is more sympathetic to the special architectural interest of the building and works with what is already a highly prominent building at the top of Milsom Street.
This proposed signage by virtue of its appearance, siting and means of illumination would be harmful to the significance of the listed building and neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. We therefore recommend that this application is refused.