Morrison’s, 11 Southgate Street, City Centre, Bath
11 Southgate Street is an unlisted retail 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 forms part of a dual frontage corner site that connects Stall Street with the multi-storey car park, and New Marchant’s Passage feeding back into the central Southgate plaza. As such, it remains a well-connected shopfront on a busy through route for traffic and pedestrians, 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 more historic city centre.
Whilst we appreciate the contemporary and eclectic nature of signage within Southgate, we strongly encourage the usage of high-quality signage and shopfronts in keeping with the wider historic character of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site and the historic setting of the city core.
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 visual amenities of the Bath conservation area and the special qualities of the World Heritage Site, particularly when considering the shop’s prominent visual position along multiple pedestrian routes through the city centre from significant arrival points such as the train station and bus station.
The proposed excessive volume of illumination is not appropriately justified in relation to advertising need; considering the unit’s well-placed central location, we do not consider this amount of illuminated signage is required. Therefore this harm would not be appropriately justified by public benefit.
BPT is opposed to the use of Perspex or acrylic signage within the conservation area where this creates a jarring contrast with the more traditional shopfronts and signage materials and finishes in the historic city centre. The proposed logo box (see Fascia Sign 1) would be overly chunky and heavy in appearance, projecting out from the proposed aluminium fascia infill. Whilst we acknowledge that the character of Southgate’s shopfronts are of a more contemporary and materially varied palette, we emphasise that new signage should remain congruous with the established quality material shopfront character of the Bath conservation area, which covers the city centre as a whole. We therefore strongly recommend that an alternative, more appropriate form of signage is considered, such as metal lettering of an appropriate finish.
The proposed black and white colour scheme is visually quite stark against the muted Bath stone colour palette; we query whether a lighter colour scheme or more muted contrast may be more appropriate.
This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D8, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be withdrawn or refused.