Mitchells & Butlers Retail Ltd, Old Police Station, Orange Grove

Re-positioning of existing planters forming a boundary to permitted external seating area and installation of new lighting posts fixed to and between planters.
Our Response

The Old Police Station is a Grade II Victorian police station, now a restaurant, situated within the core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site. It is located within a significant cluster of Grade II and Grade II* buildings of Victorian or early Edwardian origin including the Empire Hotel, the Guildhall Market, and the Victoria Art Gallery. Consequently, the Old Police Station strongly contributes towards the visual presence of distinctive and positive Victorian architecture within the city’s otherwise primarily Georgian character.

Initially, the D&A Statement remains unclear as to what is being proposed in this application, due to its lack of mention of the new planter and jumbrella designs, or the replacement umbrella lighting. The reskinning of the jumbrellas appears to have been permitted (see application 17/03252/FUL), although the current application displays the jumbrellas in a dark grey or black colour that was not used in the proposed elevations of the permitted application. However, whilst previous applications have shown the planters grow in size, the application of the logo onto the planters facing the road has not previously been approved.

BPT strongly objects to the installation of more lighting, and the expansion of the planters to the edge of the pavement for the following reasons:

We feel that whilst the replacement of existing lighting integrated into the jumbrellas is reasonable, we oppose the installation of additional globe lighting and twinkle lights in the planters. Bath has established itself as a low-illuminated city in which low levels of lighting has created a positive evening and night time character that complements the historic qualities of the city. Consequently, the proposed volume of lights within the heart of the conservation area and World Heritage site would be of detriment to these heritage assets and the setting of multiple listed buildings and their shared aesthetic character.

We additionally oppose the movement of planters to the edge of the pavement due to the proposed blockage of a walkway that is currently well-used by pedestrians. Whilst the D&A Statement argues that the pedestrian highway is located between the terrace and the building, we would highlight the awkward positioning of this route through the middle of a commercial space that will likely obstruct the free movement of staff and customers. Consequently, the maintenance of a walkway outside the edge of the terrace will positively maintain pedestrian access whilst creating a spatial and visual buffer between the road and the terrace to the benefit of the customer experience.

This application neither preserves nor enhances the special character of the Bath conservation area or World Heritage site. It will also impede expected levels of pedestrian amenity within the city. The application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, CP6, D1, D2, D4, D6, D8, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused.

Application Number: 19/05156/FUL
Application Date: 06/12/2019
Closing Date: 05/01/2020
Address: Mitchells & Butlers Retail Ltd, Old Police Station, Orange Grove
Our Submission Status: Object