Marks and Spencer, 16-18 Stall Street, Bath
The Trust objects strongly to this application on the basis of the colour, materials and illumination of the signage. Whilst we understand the applicants’ arguments relating to their need for visibility, this application shows an excessive approach to signage, in particular colour and illumination which would be harmful to the amenity of the street scene, to the character and appearance of the conservation area, and to the special qualities of the WHS. The signage will intrude rudely upon the street scene, it is ‘shouty’ and garish and would give a low quality aesthetic that is discordant with the overall character of the area. We recognise that there is some leeway in both materials and illumination within this area, being close to Southgate, however this is a gateway site between the historic and newer parts of the city centre. This means that signage must be of a high quality to relate positively with its context and to enhance Bath’s distinct character.
In our view the materials should be revised so that the bright blue element is toned down, sized down and illumination removed. This could be achieved by having a matt fascia (preferably timber) without internal illumination, the logo and/or mounted lettering could hold a subtle amount of internal or external illumination. Even better would be for the logo and lettering to be pin mounted in a Bath stone fascia as current. In our view the amount of internal lighting and paraphernalia within the windows will advertise the business adequately in this prime location, especially given the extent of the shop front glazing.
The amount of illuminated blade signage is unacceptable, we recommend that this is rationalised down to one or at most two blade signs with subtle illumination.
The proposed scheme by virtue of its materials, colour and illumination would harm the setting of numerous listed buildings, would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, would be detrimental to the visual amenity of the street scene and would detract from the special qualities of the WHS. The scheme would be contrary to sections 16 and 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 12 (Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment) of the NPPF, policies B1, B2, B4, and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies CP6, HE1, D.9, B.4, B.2 of the Placemaking Plan. We would therefore strongly recommend the application be withdrawn or refused.