Management Suite, 12 Southgate Street, City Centre
12 Southgate Street is an unlisted mixed-use Class E/E(d) premises within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the 2009-2010 Southgate development, utilising a distinctly Georgian-esque style of architectural design. Southgate Street is a popular and busy pedestrian thoroughfare that acts as a direct connector between the historic city core and Bath Spa Station and bus station via Stall Street. The unit remains a well-connected shopfront on a busy through route for traffic and pedestrians adjacent to the entrance to the multi-storey car park, despite its perceived ‘outlier’ position on the external edge of the Southgate development. This location is instead a significant transition between Bath’s newer shopping district and the historic city centre.
BPT previously commented in response to application 22/02561/FUL for a proposed new door to 12 Southgate Street as part of a new gym premises at first floor level.
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. Therefore, the use of illuminated signage would be of detriment to the shared character of the Bath conservation area and the special qualities of the World Heritage site, particularly when considering the shop’s prominent visual position along a key pedestrian route through the city centre from significant arrival points such as the train station and bus station.
We note the steady number of permitted applications for illuminated signage within the Southgate area (see 22/00187/AR, 21/05431/AR, 21/02644/AR, 22/01645/AR, 22/01686/AR, 22/01096/AR as examples of some of the most recent advertising consents). 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 the use of excessive illumination is an increasingly intrusive and jarring addition that serves to further disassociate the Southgate shopping district from its surroundings. Increasing permissions for illuminated signage would result in shared, cumulative harm to the character and appearance of the city centre and serve to further divide Southgate from its wider historic context.
We also consider that similar principles of signage design and colour palettes should also be applied to Southgate, considering its relative material homogeneity in its use of natural Bath stone. Against this, the use of a blue and green colour palette is overly strident whilst also sitting awkwardly adjacent to the more subdued dark grey of the proposed aluminium wall panel. We therefore suggest that the blue signage could be omitted in favour of a more unified grey and green branding across all proposed signage, whilst also being a more complementary addition to the neutral tones of the Bath stone building elevations.