Manvers Hall, Old Orchard Street, City Centre
Manvers Hall is a Grade II Victorian Catholic school, now functioning as a church, situated within the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. It is located on Old Orchard Street adjacent to a cluster of Grade II buildings incorporating 3-6 Henry Street and the Masonic Hall. Old Orchard Street remains strongly indicative of original, Georgian streets throughout the city, and therefore is highly valued for its aesthetic and evidential value. Consequently, any applications must account for potential visual harm to the setting of listed buildings as well as sensitive, historic character areas of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site.
BPT does not object to the display of a suitably sensitive sign on the proposed elevation, so long as it accords with expected standards of quality and appearance that will preserve or enhance the appearance of a listed building and its setting.
However, whilst the choice of colour is suitable for the area, we feel that the design of the sign is somewhat cluttered and messy due to the selected font. We would advocate the use of a cleaner design that does not draw attention from its architectural surroundings.
We also require clarification regarding the materials selected for this scheme; whilst the fascia board is stated to be timber, the material of the lettering remains unknown. BPT advocates the use of high-quality, bespoke signage in accordance with Policies D1-D3 and D9 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan that will enhance the elevations of listed buildings and their wider context without dominating Bath’s architectural streetscape. We do not support the use of vinyl or plastic signage, and prefer lettering to either be metal mounted on the fascia board, or hand-painted.
We have additionally noticed that the existing sign constitutes unpermitted development, with a retrospective application being withdrawn earlier this year. We additionally note that the existing design is preferable with regards to its colour palette and clear, legible font, although the same issues remain as to the ambiguity of the materials used.