Mcdonalds Restaurants Ltd, 40 Southgate Street, City Centre
40 Southgate Street is an unlisted restaurant 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 Stall Street and the historic city core, and Dorchester Street and Bath Spa Station. Southgate Street retains a mix of active and stationary leisure public amenity; the centre of the street is occupied with tree planting and public benches with either side of the street left clear as ‘corridors’ of pedestrian movement. Whilst there are two or three other instances of outdoor seating on this street, these are small, permeable additions and the street otherwise remains free of obstructions or further clutter.
We have some concerns regarding the scale and appearance of the outdoor seating proposed. Considering the site’s position directly adjacent to an area of public seating and a rubbish bin, we feel that the addition of further seating along the entirety of the restaurant frontage could result in a pedestrian ‘pinch point’ in an otherwise busy and often crowded shopping street with potential impact to the public amenity of this area of the conservation area.
We additionally have some concerns regarding the proposed volume and design of barriers and umbrellas. The few other instances of outdoor seating on Southgate Street either do not use barriers, or include the use of barriers or planters to delineate the seating area from commercial neighbours whilst remaining visually and functionally open to the street. We therefore recommend that the proposed use of barriers is reduced to minimise the introduction of visual clutter into the public realm and resulting impact on the visual amenity of the conservation area. We recommend barriers are implemented in a similar fashion with other examples of outdoor seating seen elsewhere on the street.
There additionally appears to be some confusion regarding the proposed design of the barriers and umbrellas, with multiple design options provided as part of the proposed external furniture schedule. We note that there does not appear to be any documentation submitted as part of this application which considers how the proposed seating will affect the appearance and associated character of the street scene, or the wider conservation area, such as contextual street elevations. We strongly recommend that the plain black design is selected and finalised as part of this application to ensure a clean, minimal appearance without the introduction of further, cluttering signage within the public realm.